Still no clarity on Kings saga
22 May 2012
Monday’s meeting between Saru and South Africa’s franchises resulted in a ‘number of options’ for Super Rugby participation in 2013.
Saru, though, has not revealed what those options are.
With Sanzar refusing to expand Super Rugby to include 16 teams, and six from South Africa, Saru either have to relegate a team for the Kings (most probably the Lions, who are currently last on the Super Rugby log) or merge two of the current franchises (most probably the Lions and Cheetahs, who played as the Cats from 1998 to 2005).
‘It was a very positive meeting and we now have a number of options for participation on which the franchises are agreed,’ said Saru CEO Jurie Roux in a press statement. ‘Those options will go to the Exco [Executive Council] for consideration and ultimately to the General Council for a decision.’
The next meeting of the Saru General Council is scheduled to take place on 13 July.
Meanwhile, Lions president Kevin de Klerk sounded confident about the Johannesburg franchise’s chances of remaining in Super Rugby next year following Monday’s proceedings.
‘We have listed a few possible solutions. From a Lions’ point of view, things are looking good and we remain positive,’ De Klerk told keo.co.za. ‘There will probably be another two to three meetings with all parties before the General Council meeting.’
De Klerk also dismissed recent reports that said the Lions would be automatically relegated if they do not settle outstanding payments owed to franchise partners, the Leopards and Pumas. According to the New Age last week, broadcast revenue payments are to be withheld from the Lions and payments of R750 000 each must be made to both unions. This was supposed to be settled last February.
‘Those reports are not true. The case will go to arbitration to be settled, but it will have no impact on the Lions’ Super Rugby participation,’ said De Klerk.
By Simon Borchardt and Gareth Duncan