In a short statement on news, that the Southern Kings were unable to continue in the 2019/20 competition, PRO14 Rugby stated it ‘is aware of the Southern Kings voluntary decision to withdraw from any domestic competitions in South Africa for the rest of the 2020 calendar year.
That admission from the competition organizers follows the board of the Southern Kings declaring their voluntary withdrawal from participation in any planned domestic rugby competitions in 2020.
Southern Kings suspend playing activities for 2020
The board of the Southern Kings has voluntarily withdrawn the team from participation in any planned domestic rugby competitions in 2020.
— Southern Kings (@SouthernKingsSA) August 25, 2020
That means the professional team will not participate in any and all planned domestic rugby, as well as forfeiting their final Guinness PRO14 match results.
Southern Kings unable to continue in Guinness PRO14 competition
The decision was taken reluctantly in the face of hard, financial realities said Andre Rademan, chairman of the Southern Kings board. “Following several weeks of interrogation of the Kings’ financial state of affairs we were left with a straightforward choice,” said Mr Rademan.
“We could opt to field the Kings in the domestic competitions mooted by SA Rugby for the sport’s post-lockdown resumption if we so wished.”
With the recent judgment by principal sponsor ISUZU to remove their support, the franchise had much to decide on. Already in substantial debt, continuing would have required further re-investment by King’s supporters. Any foreseen costs to continue rugby-operations was dependant on the health and welfare of players, the ability to travel freely, and SA Rugby’s plans for a domestic competition.
When you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome. pic.twitter.com/k41CYS1Kyg
— Southern Kings (@SouthernKingsSA) August 26, 2020
It is now evident that any cross-border Guinness PRO14 games involving South Africa teams will take place until 2021. “As there was no contractual requirement for the Kings to resume short-term participation in the PRO14 competition, because of air travel restrictions, and as the Kings had no other commercial commitments to honour, the most prudent decision was to withdraw”, Rademan continued.
“This may not be a popular decision but in the current circumstances it is the right decision.”
SA Rugby influence not enough for struggling Kings operations
“As a board we had been considering further short-term contracts to see the squad through to the end of the year,” Rademan said.
“But it became apparent that we would, for want a better phrase, be throwing good money after bad in the current global environment”.
“We now have time to consider what is the best way forward for rugby in the Eastern Province in this fluid and financially challenging environment.”
SA Rugby assumed management control of the Southern Kings, having taken back a 74% shareholding in the organization, in partnership with the EPRU in June.
The move was made following the failure of the former majority shareholder (the Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World) to meet its financial commitments relating to the acquisition of the shareholding.
The Southern Kings were placed 7th in Conference B of the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14.
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