More on Beast (et al)
I hope Tank won’t mind me posting my further comments on Beast on here. I went reading a bit, searching for these “principles” that Stofile was talking about.
Now, I always believed that you firstly have to be a South African before you can play for the Springboks, but ever since Brian Mujati and Beast Mtwarira’s inclusion in the Bok side, I was led to believe that you can play for the Springboks if you have played a certain amount of Rugby in South Africa.
Now, the IRB regulations are pretty simple. If you want to play for a different country than the country of your birth or in which you have citizenship, you must play a minimum of three years in that country before you are eligible to play for that country’s national side.
But SASCOC regulations pre-2009 say that:
“National colours will only be considered for sportsmen and sportswomen who can submit proof that they are South African nationals, i.e. they must be in possession of a valid South African passport. Athletes with South African resident permits only are not eligible.” (find the complete document here)
Interestingly, there is another version of the regulations I have found which say the following:
“National Colours will only be considered for sportsmen and sportswomen who can submit proof that they are South African nationals, i.e. they must be in possession of a valid South African passport. Athletes with South African resident permits only, are not eligible. This rule does not apply to Managers and Coaches.”
I suspect the regulation was conveniently changed to accomodate the Bafana Bafana coaches, but I am not sure which one is the earlier of the two versions as the official link on the Sports and Recreational department’s website, unsurprisingly, does not work.
So, it is true, if Beast is not a South Arfrican citizen, he may not play for the National team based on the regulations of SASCOC alone.
Also within these regulations, the following is determined under “Conditions” for awarding national colours:
“National Colours may be awarded specifically to sportsman and/or sportswoman who actually participate as a member of a representative team or as an individual and to the official reserves, if merited and as determined by the technical rules and regulations of the relevant member and its international controlling body.”
Now, considering the IRB ruling, does that not give authority in conjunction with the above to award colours to players such as Beast? If all non-citizen players may not compete, but the coach is allowed to be a foreign national (and be awarded colours) how equitible and fair is this whole policy in its essence, since the very reason non-citizen players are excluded, should also be applicable to coaches. How fair is it to choose a foreign coach but not foreign players who qualify in terms of the International controlling body. Fairness and merit are the key principles embedded in these regulations.
I seriously feel for Beast. On the one hand I would like to agree that only South African citizens should be permitted to play, coach and manage our national sports teams. On the other, one has to have regard for the international controlling bodies’ regulations as well. And I like Beast, he is a good player, so we can ask the question, is he standing in a South African citizen’s way of getting National Colours and what would it take for him to get citizenship?
Also note that the regulations state: “if merited“. Therefore, there is no place for giving players National colours if they did not deserve it on merit, and we all know SARU only pick players on merit..
It is strange that after 19 tests he played for SA, this issue has not been resolved yet. And certainly, the ministry cannot claim they were not aware of the situation, as they would have had to approve Beast getting his colours in the first instance and I am left wondering how this will impact on his performance…if he plays.