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Stellenbosch sport academy under pressure to cancel hosting of Israeli Sevens team

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The Stellenbosch Academy of Sport is under pressure to cancel its upcoming hosting of the Israeli Sevens rugby squad, with the ANCYL in the province saying it would protest if the team arrived.

Stellenbosch Academy of Sport Picture: Facebook

CAPE TOWN – The Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS) is under pressure to cancel its upcoming hosting of the Israeli Sevens rugby squad, with the ANCYL in the province saying it would protest if the team arrived.

The party on Monday condemned the team’s planned arrival in the country, saying it was “abusive for the Sevens team to host a country which South Africa has downgraded diplomatic relationships with because of Israel’s violation of international law and abuse of Palestinian human rights”.

In a statement, the ANCYL said according to pro-Israeli media, the Israeli side intend to travel to the SAS Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch in mid-December to train with the Blitzbokke.

However, SA Rugby said the national team was not involved at all, as it only concerned the SAS.

A SA Rugby spokesperson said the Springbok Sevens team was not having a camp with the Israeli national sevens team.

“Israel Sevens organised a training camp with the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport, which hosts various international squads of various sporting codes as part of their core business.

“That arrangement had nothing to do with the Springbok Sevens squad. The fact that SAS is also the base of the Springbok Sevens is purely coincidental.”

Several attempts to get comment from SAS executive Rob Bernardi were unsuccessful yesterday. Queries to other members of the SAS were referred to him.

The ANCYL said rugby had been attempting to transform in recent years and the sport had made strides.

The hosting of Israel, however, was a step backwards, it said.

“South African rugby was at the receiving end of protests and boycotts due to the country’s apartheid policies. Likewise, Israel’s Sevens rugby team will be at the receiving end of protests and boycotts if they enter the Western Cape and have a camp in Stellenbosch – this is not a threat but a promise that we as the ANCYL make.

“Important to note is that South Africa’s political liberation was also aided by the mobilisation of the international community. This included banning South African sporting codes in international events.

’’It is therefore our duty as South Africa to treat Israel the way we wanted other nations to treat apartheid South Africa.”

The youth league said the world over people were boycotting Israel, and the same should be done in South Africa in a sporting context.

Attempts to reach the Israeli embassy or comment were unsuccessful.