Namibia’s participation at 2019 Rugby WC in jeopardy

Namibia’s participation at 2019 Rugby WC in jeopardy
Photo credits: 
Cristel Kotze

With barely eight months left before the Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan, the Namibia Rugby Union and World Rugby still have not reached an agreement, leaving the national team’s participation in jeopardy.
Since taking over office in April last year, the NRU board has requested the total control of local rugby affairs, including the high performance programme from Namibia Rugby Limited.
This, however, did not happen according to union president Corrie Mensah, resulting in the termination of the agreement between the two parties.
Namibia Rugby Limited was introduced last year as, ‘the professional Rugby arm’, an entirely new Section 21 non-profit company, with the purpose of ensuring financial and commercial viability for the whole structure, and looking after the well-being of all national teams.
Meanwhile, it was stated that NRU is considered to be “the amateur rugby arm", to manage, control and administrate under the laws of the game as framed by World Rugby and their Constitution.
With no solution reached between the two - even after the intervention of the minister - NRU wrote a letter to World Rugby intervene. A World Rugby delegation comprising of president of Rugby Africa Abdelaziz Bougja, head of development and international affairs David Carrigy , World Rugby head of competitions and performance Mark Egan and World Rugby Africa Service Manager Steph Nel were in the country late last year on a fact finding mission.
The delegation met with the parties involved as well the Sports Directorate and the Namibia Sports Commission and gave their recommendations.
Said recommendations have now resulted in back and forth deliberations between the Namibia Rugby Union and World Rugby.
Ultimately, it has been two weeks since the NRU board has communicated with World Rugby and has since been waiting for response, according to Mensah.
Mensah via a relephonic interview said he cannot comment on the national team's affairs as they are training on the terms of NFL, which has been receiving the high performance grants from World Rugby.
The skeleton staff are yet to receive their salaries as the coffers of the Union have run dry. But in as much as they want a quick solution, no national team will be signed off by the board if their demands are not met, says Mensah.
Chief administrator of the Namibia Sport Commission Freddy Mwiya said he cannot comment on the state of Rugby as he still has to meet the president of the NRU.
As it stands, the players are training without contracts, as they were initially contracted by the NRL, and Mwiya was quick to say that the Commission will only follow the law, which will be to send of only teams signed off by their affiliates, which in this case is the NRU and not the NRL.