According to the CAR constitution, the general meeting can only be hosted by a full Member Union and minutes from the last General Meeting in Senegal (a Northern Union) in 2008 stated that the next meeting was to be hosted by a Southern Union with Uganda and Botswana having shown interest.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president Themba Sibanda told Standardsport that he had appended his signature threatening to pull out of CAR adding that they would soon meet as a region to chart the way forward.
“Yes we are not happy with the way rugby is being run by CAR and we have made this known both to the CAR executive and the International Rugby Board (IRB).
“I personally do not believe in pulling out from CAR as that will not solve anything. As a region we have to fight from within so we need to approach the IRB before taking actions that may later prove to be too drastic.
“It is generally perceived that Francophone countries get preferential treatment over their Anglophone counterparts. A good example is last year when we were supposed to host the CAR Under-19 tournament, but lost it to Ivory Coast because CAR decided that we were a health risk. This was despite assurance from the World Health Organisation that the cholera outbreak in Epworth was under control.
“In Ghana we were not happy over a number of issues including that country’s hosting the AGM as it is against our constitution which clearly states that only member Unions can host it,” Sibanda said.
Part of the five page letter signed by the disgruntled Unions’ presidents to CAR Exco and copied to the IRB expressing their disgruntlement reads; “That means if CAR executive does not serve the interest of all member Unions equitably, then certain member Unions may be left with no option but consider setting up a viable grouping where they shall continue furthering the development of the game in their environs; giving the children and youth meaningful future in the sport. Therefore, our future association with CAR is dependent on the holistic consideration of our concerns.”
The signatories identified key areas which need immediate attention namely governance, administration and finance, operations and developments which they said could change the fortunes of rugby if properly applied.
Governance: They suggested amendment of the constitution to clearly define Northern and Southern Zone members which will determine venues for the general meetings. A four-year strategic plan that focuses on the objectives of CAR, proper constitution of the General Assembly, structuring the leadership of CAR to reflect the diversity of member Unions.
Administration and Finance: The immediate solution according to the Unions is to set- up a sponsorship strategy to obtain revenue to support CAR activities, projects and development programmes; draw up a budget that supports CAR activities and set-up a functional secretariat and align its operations to professionally meet the strategic plan.
Operations and Competitions: Suggestions made towards a remedy was by using the IRB rankings to pit the best against the best rather than a geographical grouping resulting in a senior men 15’s Africa championship every four years in a properly bidded for host Union and ensuring competitive age-grade (Under-19) annual championship.
Development: They would like to see the provision of professional and management training for match officials, coaches, medical personnel, and administration.
CAR is headed by Moroccan Abdelaziz Bougja who lives in Paris, France but was rejected by his home country as a delegate in Ghana and Senegal adopted him instead.