Cape Town – Schalk Burger snr has hit out at the top brass of SA Rugby, suggesting a complete overhaul is needed to improve the game in the country.
The former Springbok lock spoke exclusively to Sport24 this week and was responding to the financial state of the rugby governing body.
It was reported earlier in the week that SA Rugby has suffered a net loss of R33 million in 2017.
“Making a loss on over a R1 billion turnover is just bad management and that is where all the problems started. We are so arrogant with regards to our decision-making, yet SA Rugby cry like babies about the net loss of R33 million they suffered in 2017. (Furthermore, the SA Rugby Group, which includes the governing body’s subsidiaries, suffered a net loss of R62 million). I feel the financial losses are only going to get worse because they aren’t going to lay off any jobs at their ivory tower,” Burger said.
Burger also criticised the decision to spend money on accommodating the Cheetahs and Southern Kings in the PRO14.
“SA Rugby is technically bankrupt, so how could they go and spend R144 million on the Cheetahs and Kings to compete in the PRO14 and then subtract that money from the unions that most need it for development? How can you ever take a decision like that?”
Burger also slammed the decision to reduce the Currie Cup Premier Division to a single round of matches this year.
“The incumbents have to be held accountable for the loss in revenue and what they have done to local competitions. One thousand people watching Western Province in a Currie Cup match is ridiculous. Never in the history of rugby has South Africa had such a diabolical competition structure as this year,” Burger added.
According to Burger, proper leadership is lacking at the top.
“The powers that be keep blaming it on money issues, but they haven’t done the marketing and all the right things. The administrators at SA Rugby aren’t politicians and are appointed to look after the sport. Who is leading South African rugby and where are we going?
“Top South African players aren’t only leaving for an improved paycheck abroad (there are approximately 350 South African rugby players overseas) they are also ‘gatvol’ of the management, who I believe have missed every rule in the book.
“Everything points back to SA rugby, but who has ever had the guts to stand up to them and say: ‘Listen, for the sake of the game the whole SA Rugby executive should resign.’ On behalf of every person that loves rugby as much as I do, they should all resign because if you look at their record over the last three years it’s been abysmal. To me it’s about rugby, but to them it’s self-enrichment.”