Players calmed in rugby cash crisis
“Don’t listen to all the horror stories. Your contracts are still valid and binding.”
In short, this was the content of an email sent to 20 contracted players at the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) who were not offered Super Rugby contracts by the SA Rugby Union.
The email was sent by the SA Rugby Players’ Association to players including Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht, Basil Short, Carel Greeff, Charles Marais, David Bulbring, Gary van Aswegen, JC Roos, Jurgen Visser, Mark Richards, Ronnie Cooke, SP Marais and Shaun McDonald.
The email was a direct response to another one sent by EPRU president Cheeky Watson (pictured) to the players.
Watson told the players he was worried the EPRU could not honour its financial obligations in the near future, which was why he wanted to reach a financial settlement with Engelbrecht and the others to end their contracts early.
The association described Watson’s email as “very worrying” and said the EPRU could not legally end the players’ contracts due to operational requirements. “We have to inform you [the players] that your contracts do not allow for them to be ended prematurely because of operational reasons.”
The association said it believed any negotiations to end the contracts were premature since the EPRU had not yet secured the money to pay out the contracts.
“Despite media reports, your contracts with the EPRU are still valid and you must be paid in terms of those contracts,” it said.