A South African political party asked a court to prevent the country’s rugby team from participating in the World Cup in England and Wales next month over allegations it favors white players.
The Agency for New Agenda filed an urgent application to the High Court in Pretoria, the capital, on Aug. 28 to force the selected team to surrender their passports and for the government to prevent them from leaving the country, according to court documents distributed by the party. ANA also wants the court to order a commission of inquiry “into the lack of transformation in South African rugby.”
“South African rugby was, and still is a white-man’s sport, excluding and marginalizing the majority black population,” ANA President Tshidiso Mokhoanatse said in a letter to International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset, distributed by e-mail. “We call upon your organization and council to take a stance and condemn, unreservedly, the continued exclusion and marginalization of black South Africans from the national team.”
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has named his 31-man squad, which includes nine black players, for the World Cup that starts Sept. 18. The Springboks won the World Cup in 1995 and 2007. White minority rule, also known as apartheid, ended with the first all-race elections in 1994.
The court application is scheduled to be heard on Sept. 2.