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The South African Rugby Union could be forced to withdraw their bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Sports minister Fikile Mbalula has confirmed that the SARU and other top sporting organisations have been banned from bidding for or hosting major international tournaments over their failures to create opportunities for black players.
Sporting federations agreed various transformation targets with the government in 2014, but football was the only one to meet its target, prompting the minister to impose the ban.
“I have therefore resolved to revoke the privilege of Athletics South Africa (ASA), Cricket South Africa (CSA), Netball South Africa (NSA) and South African rugby (SARU) to host and bid for major and mega international tournaments,” Mbalula said in a statement.
The ban comes into effect immediately and will be reviewed when he receives the results of the federations’ transformation efforts for 2016-17.
The decision means the SARU will not be in a position to bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup ahead of the June deadline.
SARU CEO Jurie Roux said the organisation will seek further clarification from Mbalula before making a decision on whether to press ahead with the bid.
"We understand and support the Minister's urgency in addressing the issue of transformation. There is no question that we have more work to do and we could be moving faster, but our sport has undergone a major overhaul in how we do business and how we measure ourselves in the past two or three years and we have definitely made great progress" Roux said.
"Transformation is a key strategic imperative for SA Rugby to remain competitive and to survive in the sports landscape in our country. Our barometer for 2015 shows that we have achieved our target in 11 out of 13 dimensions as agreed with government.
"We have made further progress on and off the field in 2016 to date and over the coming months our commitment to transformation will become even more evident. We are confident that the suspension will be lifted at the next reporting of the EPG."