Joint Statement on Violence in School Rugby
Joint statement after a meeting today between Western Cape Cultural Affairs And Sport Mec Cameron Dugmore, WP Rugby, WP Schools Rugby And Boland Rugby Union on the issue of violence in sport.
With reference to some incidents that happened over the last few weeks, we want to categorically state that we view one incident of violence in sport as one too many.
But having said this, it must be taken into account that over the last weekend 971 school rugby games were played, and 245 senior matches. Thus, out of more than a thousand rugby games, one ugly incident was highlighted and resulted in all youth rugby clubs being painted with one brush - we want to reject this.
Western Province Rugby Youth Department has clear guidelines and systems in place, which govern the conduct of schools and youth clubs. The guidelines include behavioral guidelines for coaches, administrators, players, supporters and spectators.
In the event of any incident of a violent nature, WP Rugby allows for the leadership of the clubs involved to resolve issues amicably, failing which the union intervenes, and where necessary, applies penalties and sanctions. This has happened before, and the unions will continue to apply discipline.
The biggest problem we are witnessing, though, is unruly and unbecoming conduct of supporters and spectators, many of whom are parents, who question and intimidate referees and opposition players, verbally abuse them, and sadly, in some cases it also result in physical assaults and attacks.
Where there are grounds for criminal prosecution, the law must take its course, and sport unions and Government will support the criminal justice processes.
In other instances we will impress upon schools and clubs involved to take strong action against their own supporters and parents who misbehave, or otherwise the unions will consider action against them.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport has also launched the Riaan Loots "no violence in sport" Campaign, and will continue to strengthen and roll it out.
With this statement we want to reiterate our renewed commitment to root out unruly behavior in sport in general, and rugby in particular, and we want to stress that one incident is one too many.
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