The South African Rugby Union are still hopeful of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup despite South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula revoking their right to host international tournaments for failing to meet its agreed transformation targets.
SA Rugby said via a press release it acknowledged the findings of the Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) report on Transformation for 2014/15 and the sanction imposed by South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Minister for Sports and Recreation.
SA Rugby, as well as Cricket South Africa, Netball SA and Athletics South Africa, had revoked their privilege of “hosting and bidding for major and mega international tournaments in South Africa as a consequence of…not meeting their own set transformation targets”, said the minister. The decision would be reconsidered at the next reporting of the EPG, which is expected in November.
“We understand and support the Minister’s urgency in addressing the issue of transformation,” said Jurie Roux, chief executive of SA Rugby.
“There is no question that we have more work to do and we could be moving faster, but our sport has undergone a major overhaul in how we do business and how we measure ourselves in the past two or three years and we have definitely made great progress.
“Transformation is a key strategic imperative for SA Rugby to remain competitive and to survive in the sports landscape in our country.
“Our barometre for 2015 shows that we have achieved our target in 11 out of 13 dimensions as agreed with government.
“We have made further progress on and off the field in 2016 to date and over the coming months our commitment to transformation will become even more evident.
“We are confident that the suspension will be lifted at the next reporting of the EPG.”
Roux confirmed that the minister’s announcement did not relate to existing international events such as Super Rugby, the Springboks’ Incoming Test Series against Ireland or Rugby Championship Test programme or the Cape Town Sevens.
He said that SA Rugby planned to engage the minister on the organisation’s hopes of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup to fully understand the implications.
The bidding process is due to start next month but will not conclude until next year, by which time SA Rugby hopes to have had the right to host reinstated.