South Africa: Sports Minister bans bidding for Rugby World Cup 2023

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

Following a Report on ‘Transformation in Sport’, the South African Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, has imposed a ban – for at least a year – on the South African Rugby Union on bidding to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023, for failing to provide enough opportunities in the sport for black players.

He claims that they have failed to reach ‘transformation targets’ set by the South African Government.

In other words, there are not enough black players in South African rugby, bearing in mind that more than 80% of the South African population is comprised of blacks.

The sport’s governing body is seeking to hold urgent talks with the Sports Minister, with a view to getting the ban lifted in time for the 2023 Rugby World Cup bidding process, which opens this summer.

Jurie Roux, the chief executive of SA Rugby, claims that they have made “great progress” in the past two or three years to open up their sport to black players.

On the other hand, Mbalula claims that South African Sports Federations, including SA Rugby, urgently need to speed up the process of providing “quality of opportunities and access to the youth of our country.”

For a forthright view on this development, see the open letter published by the black South African freelance sports journalist, Dhirshan Gobind, at ‘www.sport24.co.za/OtherSport/an-open-letter-to-fikile-mbalula-20160426?isapp=true’.

 

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw is an International Sports Lawyer, Academic, Author and Member of CAS and may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ain.blackshaw@orange.fr’