South Africa bring back racial quotas for teams
Wednesday 14 August 2013
Almost a decade after they were dismissed as "window dressing", racial quotas are on their way back to South African sport.
An announcement by the South African Rugby Union (Saru) confirmed that teams in next year's second-string Vodacom Cup competition will have to field seven non-white players in their 22-man squads, five of whom must be fielded among the starters and two of whom must be forwards. It is a surprise departure after quotas were officially abolished in 2004 following a five-year trial period, with the then Sports Minister, Makhenkesi Stofile, vowing to put all resources into the development of talent.
But despite the fact that nine non-white players were named in the 30-man Springbok squad for their first two matches of the Rugby Championship which starts in Soweto on Saturday, Saru's president, Oregan Hoskins, believes the change has become a necessity. "This decision to introduce measurable targets underlines Saru's commitment to transformation," he said.
"The Vodacom Cup is a critical step on the development pathway in professional rugby but it had moved away from its primary purpose of presenting opportunities for young emerging players, particularly black players.
"This is rugby's tangible step on delivering on a pledge [to transform]. The mood of the organisation is that we needed to intervene – and this was coming from the provinces as well – to see the graph of black player representation begin to rise," Hoskins added.
The Vodacom Cup is contested by 14 South African provinces and runs alongside the Super 15 competition that includes franchises from New Zealand and Australia.
As yet, no sanctions had been specified should a province fail to select the required numbers of non-white players but that is due to be addressed by Saru's games and policy committee later in the year.
There has been government, media and public concern for several years about the small number of non-white players in Super Rugby and for the national team, with the current Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, warning last year that quotas "are not a thing of the past".
But Hoskins has denied that the decision had been ordered by the government.
"Transformation will never work if it's based on people telling us what to do – be it government, business, banks, sponsors or anyone else," he said. "This is about rugby taking the lead ourselves."
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Compare the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in El Clasico
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo
Tim Sherwood: The mavericks have always needed special handling – but Balotelli is not delivering his side of the bargain for Liverpool
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Modesty of Louis van Gaal makes nice contrast with his old pupil Jose Mourinho
Real Madrid analysis: Toni Kroos control may give extra edge that enables Real Madrid to retain Champions League crown
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts