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Africa Rugby boss rubbishes racism claims

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Bougja says ther is no room for racism PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The president of Africa Rugby, Abdelaziz Bougja has played down the existence of racism in the sport.

Bougja was responding to a question from Mmegi Sport at the end of a two-day forum on women’s leadership in rugby held in Gaborone. He said there is no place for racism in rugby.

“Those people are stupid and there is nothing we can do with stupid people. If you refer to the South African incident, it is a unique case and has not been reported to Rugby Africa. We are all brothers and sisters. We are working closely,” he said. The South African incident Bougja was referring was when rugby analyst, Ashwin Willimse walked out during a live SuperSport show on Saturday night, over racism claims.

There are concerns that racism is still very much alive in rugby across the world, with blacks still playing second fiddle to their white counterparts. Meanwhile, women’s World Rugby general manager, Katie Seidler said they have taken a

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bold move in terms of gender balancing the WR board. She said they moved from zero to 35% of women representation at the World Council. “It was a bold move for rugby and most international federations envy us. They are asking us how we did it. We have strong leaders who want to normalise rugby for women,” Seidler said.

She said Africa Rugby is the first of the six regional associations to host a forum on women’s leadership in rugby.

“I have been here assisting and learning about what is going on about women’s rugby development in Africa. There have been amazing things happening. There are some challenges like everywhere else,” she said. Seidler said there is reassurance that there is passion to take the game forward. She said there is a scholarship programme for women in Africa from the World Rugby.

 



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