Lionel Mapoe may soon be on his way to the Blue Bulls due to a salary dispute with the Free State Rugby Union (FSRU).
The FSRU’s legal representatives will meet with Mapoe’s on Thursday. The meeting may determine whether Mapoe’s contract is valid or whether he can be contracted by the Bulls for a salary of R1.4 million straight away.
Sport24’s sources indicate that Mapoe is earning around R29 500 per month in the Super 14, which is the minimum salary for a South African player in the Super 14. His contract with Free State is worth about R200 000 a year.
Mapoe was contracted as an unknown emerging talent by the Cheetahs in 2008 for R80 000 a year for three years, with annual increases built into the contract.
He still played for the Free State under-21 side in 2009 and only made his mark for the senior team later in the season, after which the Cheetahs decided to increase his salary.
The Cheetahs are now believed to be willing to increase his salary to R750 000 a year within 24 months if he’s prepared to extend his contract until 2012.
Mapoe’s representatives believe that his current salary is not market related.
FSRU president Harold Verster confirmed to Sport24 that he had received a lawyer’s letter from the agents in which the validity of Mapoe’s contract is disputed.
“There is an issue around Mapoe’s contract. His agent, Red Star Talent and more specifically Mike de Haast, is looking at the issue with lawyers. The matter is sub judice because there are ongoing negotiations between the lawyers and we have a meeting on Thursday,” said Verster.
“You can probably always go looking for a problem in a contract. We are quite certain our affairs are in order.
“It’s a pity that this kind of thing always pops up before we play a big South African team. It’s disruptive for the team and players. It’s a pity that our own people in Bloemfontein disrupt our team at such a crucial time.”
Verster believes Mapoe is a star and the Cheetahs would like to keep him in the long term.
“We have looked after him very well to date. He did not have a medical aid last year when he suffered a knee injury. His agents did not arrange a medical aid for him. Free State Rugby paid R25 000 for his knee operation,” said Verster.
“He has also had free accommodation for the past two years at the Cheetah house.”
De Haast says that the Bulls have not made Mapoe an offer.
“Lionel is committed to the Cheetahs and is looking forward to Saturday’s match against the Stormers,” he said.Tweet