Morris Gilbert writes for News 24
Pretoria – Bakkies Botha and the Blue Bulls Company face legal action from the Toulon rugby club if the Springbok lock forward does not report for duty in France on April 1.
And that is no April Fool’s joke.
Botha may insist that his blood is blue, but Toulon’s foolhardiness ensures that his return to Super 14 rugby will take place under a cloud of controversy at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
A week after club officials strongly denied that any negotiations had been conducted with Botha, saying “he has never been one of our players and never will be,” Toulon’s president, Mourad Boudjellal, is singing a different tune.
Boudjellal said on Thursday that Botha had indeed signed a contract and was obliged to report to the club on April 1.
He added that Toulon would take legal action against Botha and the Blue Bulls if the player did not fulfil his contractual obligations.
If it proves to be true that Botha has signed a contract with the French club, he and his agent, Bernie Habana, have a lot to explain.
Extended his Springbok contract
The Blue Bulls have not put a foot wrong in the drawn-out saga.
They could take legal action against Toulon for persisting in negotiations with Botha despite the fact that his contract with the Pretoria franchise runs until the end of 2011. Botha has also extended his Springbok contract by another three years.
Now the big forward finds himself between two fires. He could be handed a sizeable fine if it is found that he signed with Toulon while still in the employ of the Blue Bulls.
Habana’s role in the affair is also likely to be scrutinised.
Lani-Marie Pretorius, an expert in contract law, said on Thursday Toulon would be able to take steps against Botha if he did sign a contract with the club.
“If he fails to report to the club on April 1 he could be summonsed for breach of contract. One has to accept that both parties agreed to the contract in good faith.”
It may be ethically unacceptable but one may enter into contracts with several parties as long as you are willing to face the legal consequences, she said.Tweet