NRU responds to Vermeulen’s allegations

30 June 2015 | Sports

The Namibian Rugby Union (NRU) CEO, Sybrand de Beer yesterday reacted to former Welwitschias coach, Danie Vermeulen’s suggestion that there were a lot of things that prevented him from executing his mandate. These factors left Vermeulen with no choice but to resign last Wednesday, the former mentor claimed. De Beer said in his statement that “the NRU did not want to get involved in any public debates” and thus accepted Vermeulen’s resignation. But Vermeulen’s widely published comments, which cited complaints of racism, council interference, loss of faith in his abilities, no back line coach and a lack of support as the main reason for his shocking resignation, has left the NRU with no choice but to respond. The wheelchair bound mentor had also listed the loss of his wheelchair in Tunisia and treatment by the NRU as something which showed that the union does not appreciate his worth as a coach. In a statement issued on Sunday, De Beer strongly refutes these claims. Racism On the supposed racist allegation, De Beer admits that there was a debriefing report by the vice-president of rugby regarding allegations of discrimination against Vermeulen, but these were not accepted by the board. In his resignation explanation, Vermeulen had said that he is yet to see the report regarding the allegations. “The report was not accepted by the board as an official report and it was withdrawn by the person who compiled it. The board could therefore not provide this report to anyone,” De Beer explained. Interference Vermeulen had said that there was interference with regard to his selection of the team that went on tour to Europe. According to the former coach, 28 players were due to be part of the team but this was changed to 29 when a certain player was not selected. This is again off the mark, De Beer stated. “One of the team members was based in London and did not require any additional flights. “This player was only available for one match and to have completed the tour with 27 players would not have made sense. This was explained to and discussed with Vermeulen, who responded by stating the player could tour but that he would not select him for the test matches.” Vermeulen’s stance was not accepted by the board, De Beer added. “The Board felt that this approach was not in line with the NRU’s policy towards developing players”. Lost faith Vermeulen also claimed that NRU president, Bradley Basson had expressly stated his loss of faith in the coach’s abilities. While admitting there was a stand-off regarding a report written about Basson and De Beer, the CEO states that the president had always supported Vermeulen despite calls from certain sectors to have him removed. “[The report] did damage the relationship between Mr. Vermeulen and Mr. Basson, but it has to be reiterated that Mr. Basson supported Mr. Vermeulen on numerous occasions thereafter when there were calls for Mr. Vermeulen to be sacked,” De Beer wrote. Wheelchair As far as the loss of Vermeulen’s wheelchair is concerned, according to De Beer the NRU has gone the extra mile to accommodate the coach. “Once we were informed of the loss of Mr. Vermeulen’s wheelchair we immediately instituted measures for it to be replaced. “We requested a quote from Mr. Vermeulen and a week later we received a quote for N$100 550,” he states. “After the NRU was told that the insurance did not cover this we went out of our way to assist Mr. Vermeulen and secured an ex gratia amount of N$60 000 plus a further N$ 19 000, a total of $79 000.” De Beer insists that this gesture was one of goodwill given that the “onus is on the individual to insure personal property.” Despite the furore, De Beer, who bemoaned Vermeulen’s handling of the matter, wished the former national team coach well. “We wish Mr Vermeulen all the best for his future endeavours and wish the team well in their final preparations prior to the RWC,” he concluded. WINDHOEK-SPORT REPORTER

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