Ex-Bok slams Bulls over 'poor management'

Cape Town - Former Springbok captain Wynand Claassen has expressed his shock at revelations of major financial strive at the Blue Bulls.

This comes after a report surfaced over the weekend that the union’s professional arm, the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd (BBC), is struggling to keep head above water.

Afrikaans website Netwerk24 reported on Sunday that Gert Wessels - who is the president of the amateur arm, the Blue Bulls Rugby Union (BBRU) - allegedly made several unauthorised loan transfers from the union’s funds to the BBC, but the payments appear to be in arrears.

The report further states that the BBC is close to being declared bankrupt and is surviving on more loans and favours.

An initial loan worth R8.43 million from the BBRU to the BBC was supposed to be paid off by February 2017 but the professional arm has failed to do so.

The report also stated that the BBRU’s CEO, Eugene Hare, approved an unauthorised loan of R5 million to the BBC. By doing this, the BBRU also signed a surety for R7.5 million of the BBC’s other outstanding debt.

Claassen, who captained the-then Northern Transvaal in the 1970s and early 1980s, said he was perturbed by the happenings at his former union.

“It’s clear that poor management has left the once-mighty union on the verge of a financial disaster. And it is reflected in the performances on the field,” Claassen told Netwerk24. “In the old days you had guys like the late Fritz Eloff in the boardroom. They were top academics and real rugby men.”

Claassen, who played seven Tests for the Springboks between 1981 and 1982, added that the yellow jerseys the Bulls played in against the Reds last weekend was a “manifestation of what’s going on at Loftus”.

The union’s clubs have now tabled a motion of no confidence in Wessels, which is led by Henri van Aswegen, vice-president of the BBRU.

There were indications of financial difficulties at the Bulls in 2017 when the union started with a retrenchment process, which saw five coaches lose their jobs.

The five retrenched employees - Tim Dlulane (team manager), Pine Pienaar (defence coach), Nqubeko Zulu (Under-21 team manager), Dewey Swartbooi and Denzil Frans (both coaches of the Under-19 team) - subsequently opted to take the matter to court after a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) hearing failed to reach a favourable outcome.