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The Boland Rugby Union was on Thursday fined R42,000, suspended for a year, having been found guilty of fielding an ineligible player during the Currie Cup Qualifying competition. The sanction was applied by a SA Rugby disciplinary committee following the laying of a complaint by the Valke Rugby Union.

A second charge brought by the Eastern Province Rugby Football Union of also fielding ineligible players during the Currie Cup Qualifiers was dismissed. Both charges were heard by Adv. Rob Stelzner SC.

In the case brought by the Valke, Adv Stelzner found that Boland were in breach of Regulations 4.2 – 4.4 of the Player Status, Player Contracts and Player Movement regulations, for fielding Christopher Bosch in six matches between 8 April and 13 May 2016, without the necessary clearance certificate.

Bosch was registered to play for Brakpan and although the Valke offered him a renewal of his contract in 2015, the player had refused this, opting to join Boland instead. The Valke only became aware of this when Boland applied, belatedly for his clearance, on 18 May 2016, and felt compelled to bring the transgression to the attention of SA Rugby even though the clearance was granted on the same day.Boland apologised to the Valke and explained that it was an oversight at the commencement of the season. Boland conceded that Bosch had been contracted to the Valke and was registered with Brakpan in 2015, but that he had never played any matches for that club.

Adv Stelzner found that the player’s previous registration with the club was not in issue but that playing for Boland without obtaining a clearance certificate from his previous province, the Valke, was in contravention of the Transfer Regulations. Previous similar cases were taken into consideration and a suspended fine of R7,000 per match was imposed, totalling R42,000.

“Forfeiture of points is in my view was not appropriate in the present matter, as the omission was a technical one – the moment the certificate was applied for it was granted,” said Adv Stelzner.

“Furthermore, the Valke did not have any objection to the player transferring to Boland and playing for Boland and would have agreed to that at the outset had such approval been sought. Boland’s apology and remorse further counts in its favour together with the immediate steps it took to remedy the mistake.”

In the second case against Boland, brought by Eastern Province for the fielding of two players, Basil Short and Shaun McDonald, Adv Stelzner dismissed the charges, essentially finding that the contacts with EP had been cancelled.

“None of the parties to the contract performed in terms thereof from, it appears, October 2015 when EP experienced financial difficulties and was unable to pay the players their salaries,” said Adv Stelzner.

“In addition, and in any event, on 18 December 2015 EPRFU informed both players that it wished to reach settlement with them about terminating the contracts.

“To the extent that this was not acceptance of the players’ earlier cancellation or a termination itself, but only a repudiation of the contract, such repudiation was accepted by the players through their conduct in signing up for Boland (which had occurred mid-December) and playing for Boland thereafter.”

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