Struggling Lions Super Rugby coach John Mitchell has slammed the South African Rugby Union for their handling of the Southern Kings' entry into Super Rugby next year.
The Southern Kings have been guaranteed a place in next year's tournament after Saru's general council voted unanimously to include back in January.
The Golden Lions Rugby Union were one of the 14 Unions that voted in favour of the Kings being included even though their inclusion could come at the Lions expense.
While SARU has guaranteed the Kings inclusion they have not yet agreed on how this will be achieved without one of the existing teams dropping out.
The 2012 Super Rugby season is well beyond the half way point but SARU have yet to agree on who will drop out and how the team that drops out will be decided.
Ordinarily in a situation like this when a team wants promotion into a league they would play a promotion and relegation match with the last placed team in the league but as the Kings have been guaranteed a place next season the last placed South African team is expected to drop out.
John Mitchell's Lions are currently the last placed South African team having scored 14 points - eight of which came as a result of their byes.
"Nothing has been defined in terms of the future," Mitchell told SportLive.
"But the Lions have been around for 120 years and it is up to Saru to stop blackmailing people and hanging a noose out there and to rather allow them to get on with things."
Mitchell went on to state that SARU had created a "ridiculous situation for itself".
The Lions coach believes that solution to the problem is for the Lions and the Cheetahs to merge again as they did between 1998 and 2006 when they played as the Cats.
The two teams split again in 2006 when Super Rugby was expanded from 12 teams to 14.
"If you want to be the best team a merger with the Cheetahs is the way to go," Mitchell said.
"But if you want to create a team that is going to be better and you want to become a serious challenger, a merger is a decent decision.
"It depends whether you want to continue to accept mediocrity and just hang in there and be part of the competition, or if you want to win."
Mitchell says that the Lions has struggled this season as they do not have the depth to compete but a merge with the Cheetahs would create more depth.
"If the Lions were at full strength and playing with the same team that won the Currie Cup last year, we would have been more competitive in this year's competition, but we still don't have the depth to maintain and sustain performances to win the title - and neither do the Cheetahs.
"If you amalgamated the best players from both franchises you would have a serious group, and with strong leadership and a good team culture, they could achieve anything."
While Mitchell is keen on the idea of a merge the Golden Lions are against it and the Cheetahs ruled out another merge earlier in the year.