Veda Manie becomes first women elected to SAREO executive committee


South Western Districts CEO Veda Manie has become the first woman elected to the South African Rugby Employers’ Association (SAREO).

Veda Manie is first women elected to SAREO executive

Manie was elected to serve on the incoming executive committee of the SAREO along with Eduard Coetzee (KZN Sharks CEO), Eugene Fourie (Leopards CEO) and Edgar Rathbone (Bulls CEO).

SA Rugby will be represented on the committee by their GM Strategic Performance Management Ian Schwartz.

Eastern Province Rugby Union General Manager Thando Manana was elected as vice-chairman having served as an executive member in a previous term.

A sport for all

Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli was re-elected as SAREO chairman.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Veda onto the executive committee,” said Straeuli. “Rugby has been a male-dominated sport for many years, but we’re happy to be moving with the times.

“Rugby prides itself on being a sport for all, and we need to have diverse and wide-ranging voices in shaping its future so that it meets the needs of all.”

CEO of SAREO Barend van Graan said it had been a supremely challenging year for members.

“Although play has resumed for some of our members, our sport remains in an extremely precarious position,” he said.

“We are businesses, like any other in the South African economy, and we rely on being able to provide entertainment to our customers – either through the turnstiles, on TV or through sponsorship – to pay our way.

“Major revenue streams have slowed to a trickle in 2020 and some have been turned off completely, and many of our members find themselves in an uncertain position.

“Our major achievement this year was the sport-wide, Industry Savings Plan that we were able to agree with MyPlayers, Sports Employees Unite (the union representing rugby staff) and SA Rugby, to reduce budgets and make savings.

“It has been extremely tough for all our members, their players, coaches and staff but it was essential so that we would still have a sport to return to once this pandemic eases.”

Professional rugby in South Africa went into lockdown on 21 March. Competitive play only resumed on 10 October, 29 weeks later. Seven of the 14 professional teams opted not to resume playing at all in 2020 to maximise savings.

SA Rugby faces a tough decision regarding Springbok participation in the Rugby Championship where it has become a question of player welfare vs financial stability.


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