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ITM Cup

Otago captain hits out at union

Otago captain hits out at union

OTAGO CAPTAIN Eben Joubert has criticised those running the union for its current financial woes.

The Otago Rugby Union looks set to go in to liquidation on Friday after it was revealed earlier this week it has 180 creditors and debt of more than $2 million.

Otago’s participation in the ITM Cup is also in doubt.

Joubert, who is in England for a few months, did not realise the union’s financial situation was as bad as it was.

In a letter to the Otago Daily Times he wrote: “I certainly did not realise the situation was this bad. No-one did. And it is not just the players and supporters that suffer here.

“The staff members who keep Otago running, who weren't responsible for the decisions that led to this catastrophe, are hurting just as badly and are now also without a job. Their response, as mine, is still one of shock and disbelief.

“I am, like all Otago staff members and players, rightly concerned about my future. I do not want to leave this province at this time when we are just starting to show progress as a team again.”

He criticised those at the top for the union’s current state of affairs.

“They expected excellence without providing the necessary professional foundation for it to grow. If only some bigwigs spent as much time looking after the books as they did interfering with coaches and the team, we never would have been in this situation,” he says.

“Those at the top were frequently telling them what teams to pick, what game plans to follow, how good or bad certain players were, while they should have been busy ensuring the financial sustainability of this proud province.

“The idea of not fielding a team is inconceivable. This should not be allowed to happen.”

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