SA Rugby takes control of Kings

SA Rugby has assumed management control of the Kings, having taken back a 74% shareholding in the organisation.

Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby, is liaising with Kings director of rugby and interim coach Robbie Kempson on immediate team needs.

All staff and players of the franchise have been retained.

'I cannot stress enough how reluctant we are to resume control of the Kings,' said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

'It is our last resort and we are keen to explore ways to return the shareholding to another’s hands, in conjunction with the EPRU, the minority shareholder, who have given the required approval to the decision. 

'The next step is to appoint a new board to oversee the franchise’s affairs and ensure the team is match ready for when we are able to resume playing.'

SA Rugby has appointed a finance team to work with franchise administrators on ensuring salary payments are made and business needs are addressed.

Alexander said the decision was taken following the failure of The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (Pty) Ltd – a consortium of locally-based investors Loyiso Dotwana‚ Gary Markson‚ Rory Stear‚ Kenny Govender and Vuyo Zitumane – to meet its financial commitments relating to the acquisition of the shareholding.

Kings players, coaches and staff were paid their April salaries 10 days late, with the franchise only able to make those payments after being given a R6-million bailout from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

With a playing salary bill of more than R3-million per month, the Kings were once again on the brink of defaulting on staff and player wages, forcing SA Rugby to intervene.

SA Rugby's decision ensures the Kings will participate in Pro14 and/or any other competitions that may be established within the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.