Springboks Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has had a request for his box office misconduct hearing to be held in public rejected by World Rugby.
The Rapport newspaper in South Africa reported that Erasmus, who finds himself in the dock after an hour long ref rant video was uploaded into the public domain, sought for a public stage to answer the charges against him.
The saga has lurched along since July’s Tests between the Springboks and Lions when Erasmus made a 62-minute long video detailing the refereeing failings of Nic Berry and his officials during the first Test in Cape Town.
The sore point for the former coach was that he and his coaches were unable to air their grievances with Berry following the game.
World Rugby announced the misconduct hearing will take place on October 30-31, a staggering three months after the incident.
It is reported that Erasmus’ defence will argue that he did not release the video into the public domain.
Independent Judicial Panel Chairman Christopher Quinlan QC will chair the panel alongside Nigel Hampton QC and Judge Mike Mika (of New Zealand). All three panel members are on its payroll as part of the governing body’s regular disciplinary panel.
It is reported SA Rugby and Erasmus expected the independent panel to consist of outside parties.
“The allegations against Rassie are unfounded and the facts will be revealed during the hearing,” Frikkie Erasmus. Rassie Erasmus’ representative, told Rapport.
“It is therefore in the interest of justice to have a transparent hearing. There is no justification for any secrecy.”
But World Rugby reportedly rejected the bid, telling the legal team that hearings are never held in public.
Instead, the disciplinary committee will publish a full written decision after delivering a verdict.
Rassie Erasmus seems pleased that the case will be resolved this month, tweeting: “This is what we all deserve, players, coaches, supporters and referees: just to get an opportunity to tell the truth without an option of hiding anything! That’s all! Then anyone can make an informed decision on facts! The way it should be!”
When the charges were brought against him the governing body said ina statement: “Match officials are the backbone of the sport, and without them there is no game. World Rugby condemns any public criticism of their selection, performance or integrity which undermines their role, the well-established and trust-based coach-officials feedback process, and more importantly, the values that are at the heart of the sport.
“Having conducted a full review of all the available information, World Rugby is concerned that individuals from both teams have commented on the selection and/or performance of match officials.
“However, the extensive and direct nature of the comments made by Rassie Erasmus within a video address, in particular, meets the threshold to be considered a breach of World Rugby Regulation 18 (Misconduct and Code of Conduct) and will now be considered by an independent disciplinary panel.”