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SARU attempt to play down Steyn contract issue

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The South African Rugby Union (SARU) have issued a statement attempting to calm the storm that is brewing between their organisation and Springbok back Frans Steyn who asked not to be considered for selection.

Steyn Earlier this week Rugby World Cup winner asked to be released from the Springbok squad and to be left out the squad for this month’s Internationals.

Initially it was suggested that Steyn was struggling with an injury but after rumours that his departure was related to missing payments from SARU his father has has confirmed that he did leave the squad as SARU had not fulfilled promises made to him when he returned from France.

Steyn has recently agreed to move to Japan later this year and his father said that had his son remained in France he would have been one of the top paid players in world rugby.

It now appears that Steyn’s departure from the Springbok squad is specifically over his image rights which are owned by a third party.

According to Timeslive Steyn’s image rights have been owned by a third party since he joined French club Racing Metro in 2009 which is a standard practice for high-profile sports stars.

The dispute appears to be over payments from SARU to the owners of Frans Steyn’s image rights.

“When Steyn returned to South Africa in 2012 he was awarded a Springbok contract with a specific understanding that the use of his image rights would take place under licence from the third party. Payments were to be made separately and directly to the party by Saru, but that was not honoured.”

South African Rugby Union CEO says that the situation has Jurie Roux put them in a “difficult position”.

“In light of media coverage following Frans’ request to leave the Springbok squad, we have been placed in a very difficult position,” said Roux.

“We have an agreement with players in respect of the rights of both employer and employee not to publicly discuss any contractual situation and I will not breach that.”

“However, allegations have been made that affect the reputation of the South African Rugby Union and Frans Steyn as an employee and person and they cannot go unchallenged.

“It is alleged that SARU breached a promise to Frans in terms of his contract. I can confirm that there was a dispute over mechanisms by which one element of Frans’ Springbok remuneration was to be paid. That issue was addressed. Some minor details remain to be sorted out, but they are not of such a scale as to be a cause for a major upheaval.

“Out of respect for Frans’ wishes, whatever other considerations may have been on his mind are not for me to discuss.

“I look forward to his return to playing in the near future in Super Rugby as he has been a good servant to the Springboks and his franchise”

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