Play­ers calmed in rugby cash cri­sis

CityPress - - Sport - HEN­DRIK CRONJE sport@city­

“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.

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