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SA Rugby boss accused of nepotism

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) CEO, Rian Oberholzer, selected his son’s company to organise the upcoming Springboks’ tests against Ireland without following any tender process.

Access Management Services (AMS), run by Oberholzer’s son, was selected to manage the events on 6 July at Loftus Versfeld and a week later in Durban.

The CEO has denied any wrongdoing, saying that his connection to AMS ended when he took up his current role at SA Rugby.

“I didn’t appoint AMS to work for Saru. The company was a service provider to Saru before my appointment as CEO,” Oberholzer said, Sunday World reported.

He added that he no longer holds any financial interest or involvement in AMS.

“I have nothing more to do with the company. I’m not a shareholder and I don’t benefit financially from it. It wouldn’t be right or ethical to remain involved,” he said.

Despite the controversy, SA Rugby supported the appointment by saying there is a need for experienced logistical support during a packed schedule.

“AMS was appointed because of its experience and expertise in event delivery and to fill an immediate, short-term need,” a Saru spokesperson said.

They explained Saru’s demands, including six test matches and three World Rugby events, all to be managed by a tiny operations team.

The choice to not use a formal tender process was influenced by recommendations from World Rugby, based on positive prior experiences with AMS.

“World Rugby worked with AMS when the WXV series took place last October in South Africa and was impressed enough to recommend that the company be used again this year,” the Saru spokesperson added.

This incident has also brought to light the current status of Saru’s previous partner. SA Rugby Events Services is now dormant.

Pictured above: Rian Oberholzer.

Image source: SA Rugby