SA Clubs unite against foul play

Sixteen South African clubs have pledged their support to a new initative intent on stamping out violence and discrimination in the game.

The respective club captains of Brakpan, Bridgeton, Cambridge, College Rovers, Hartswater, Jaguars, Jhb University, Maties, Nelson Mandela Metro University, Nelspruit, Pretoria Police, Progress, Pukke, Roses Utd, Shimlas and Welkom Rovers signed a declaration against violence in South African club rugby on Wednesday.

The 2006 season has been marred by numerous incidents of foul play, which has escalated in some cases to serious injury and in one case death. This initiative is a step towards creating a safer environment for both players of club rugby and their supporters.

Saru’s tournament manager at the Club Champs, Mervin Green described the signing of the declaration as an important development for the club game in South Africa.

“This show of solidarity by the country’s champion clubs is the kind of action that will give impetus to efforts to clean up the game at club level,” Green said. “Administrators, players, coaches, referees and supporters at all levels have a role to play in sorting out these matters and these clubs are assisting that process by taking the lead and setting an example for others to follow,”.

The declaration reads:

“We, the 16 participating teams at the 2006 Fidentia National Club Rugby Championships hereby express our unequivocal support for initiatives that seek to eliminate violence, foul play and discrimination from our game.

“By signing this Declaration, we commit ourselves to ensuring that each of our clubs will work towards upholding the spirit of the club game wherever it is played in South Africa. We want to reassure players and supporters that they can follow the game without fear of injury or discrimination and can thereby contribute to a vibrant and thriving club rugby environment in South Africa.

“We hereby call on all club rugby players, supporters and officials in South Africa to work together in making club rugby safe and violence-free.”

The declaration also serves to address the escalating amount of severe injuries in rugby, which are becoming more commonplace at schools and at club level.

“An indaba was held recently at which these matters were highlighted and discussed,” said Green. “A detailed action plan will be implemented at a later stage, but Saru believes that the Club Champs presented an ideal opportunity to create awareness and garner support for initiatives to make rugby safer and free of violence and discrimination, which in many cases is at the root of these problems.”