South African board accused of racial discrimination
ESPN Staff
December 3, 2013
The Springboks celebrate beating South Africa in September ... but this predominantly white line-up would not be tolerated at domestic level © Getty Images

The South African board (SARU) has been warned that proposals to implement racial quotas in its Vodacom Cup would be a violation of the IRB's ban on racial discrimination.

SARU was advised in writing by AfriForum, a Civil rights organisation, that the Olympic Charter, with which rugby has to follow as it is now an Olympic sport, explicitly prohibits racial discrimination.

Under new rules, teams will be forced to field seven players of colour in their 22-man squads, with at least five players in the starting team. At least two of the seven will also have to be among the forwards.

"AfriForum is doing everything in its power to convince SARU to comply with the rules of the IRB and abandon the quota system," explained Kallie Kriel, the organisation's chief executive. "Rugby unions should focus on development programmes instead of discriminating against certain players on the basis of race.

"A quota system, however, does nothing to develop new players. Institutions simply import existing black players in order to comply with the quota requirements."

Kriel said that the quota system actually penalised black players as it raised questions over the validity of their selection and could lead to claims they had not been picked on ability alone.

He went on to say that the SARU and the government were trying to paper over their failure to develop young black talent.

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