The Labour Court in Johannesburg will consider on Wednesday a motion in which Springbok lock forward Bakkies Botha asks for his contract with the Blue Bulls Company to be declared null and void.
Morris Gilbert reports for Beeld that Botha wants to continue his career by playing for the French club Toulon but both the Blue Bulls and SA Rugby have refused to release him from his contracts.
Botha extended his Blue Bulls contract by five years last year and has also signed a new Springbok contract.
Jonathan Stones, chief executive of SA Rugby, was not available on Thursday to say whether Botha’s Springbok contract was part of the application.
Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls Company, said Botha’s application would be opposed.
Van Graan said Botha would ask the labour court to declare his Blue Bulls contract invalid. This would force the company to release him so that he could continue his career at Toulon without prejudice of rights.
According to news releases from Toulon, Botha should have reported to the club on April 1 already.
Warnings have been issued that Botha may be sued for breach of contract if he does not report at the club.
No negative influence
Toulon’s deadline has come and gone and the Bulls continued to select Botha for their Super 14 run-on team.
Botha has not tried to explain, after all the speculation about his future, how he managed to commit to Toulon while he had valid contracts with the Blue Bulls and SA Rugby.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has said repeatedly that Botha’s much-discussed plans do not have a negative influence on his game.
The Labour Court’s findings may have far-reaching consequences for rugby in South Africa, especially if Botha is released from his contractual commitments.
Botha is represented by Bernie Habana, who also negotiated the Blue Bulls contracts of Bryan Habana and Wynand Olivier.
According to information, their contracts and that of Botha correspond almost to the letter. Their contracts also run until the end of 2011.
Bryan Habana is a rugby icon far beyond South Africa’s borders and European and British clubs will fall over each other to acquire his services if there were the slightest possibility.
That Botha has turned to the labour court will surely result in his involvement in the Bulls’ last three Super 14 matches being reconsidered.Tweet