The recent acquisition of just about half of the Golden Lions Rugby Union’s commercial arm is a move long overdue.
I can only speculate what necessitated this move by the Lions because to be honest, their management in recent times never seemed the most forward-thinking but nevertheless, I believe this could be a watershed moment for rugby in South Africa.
As the media release read; ‘Now we can have business people looking after the business side of rugby, and rugby people after the rugby side’.
It might be oversimplifying a very complex issue but essentially, this is just what professional sport should be all about.
Of course my wish is that this is just the first step in a major drive to make the game of rugby more professional, but at least this is a start.
It is an argument raised many times before where South Africa is suffering as a rugby nation because we have rugby people trying to make business decisions and apart from being quite poor at this, they cannot detach themselves emotionally from important issues where an amateurish spite is more the norm in decisions made in rugby than logical business decisions.
You see from a business perspective your first priority is to look after your assets, ensuring that as a business, you produce a great product you are trying to sell television networks or essentially, the rugby public.
If this happens from the top you have a domino effect going down all the way to the very bottom, where not only the people in the boardroom conduct themselves professionally, but it would then also be expected that any staff member and essentially, the playing and coaching staff do exactly the same because if you don’t, you need to ship out.
For too long have administrators, coaches and even players enjoyed a free ride in what is, and make no mistake, a very lucrative business, at the expense of the game and effectively, the paying public.
Of course what I would effectively love to see is business consortiums, like the Guma Group and TransAfrica Capital actually bidding and owning the Super rugby franchises where they will enter into partnerships with local (regional) union(s) taking the responsibility of investing back into unions to produce quality players and coaches, but for the first time I believe we are at least moving in the right direction.
This should not only be exciting times for the Lions rugby union and Lions fans, but an exciting event for all of us because if this actually comes off, we might just see the birth, or as some would like to think, the re-birth of South African Rugby as the powerhouse of world rugby.Tweet