Top local women’s rugby club, Phoenix, is at the centre of a power struggle, pitting suspended chairman Robbie Thompson and acting chairperson Valerie Basson.
This, while Thompson refuses to relinquish his position at the club, despite being slapped with a two-year ban by the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) last year.
“Basson is not the chairperson. Robbie Thompson is still the chairman as far as the club is concerned. There was never a change in the executive committee,” Thompson said via email after this reporter had referred to Basson as Phoenix’s chairperson in a previous article.
“Rectify this, it creates the wrong impression,” he demanded.
Thompson, who continues to maintain his innocence, claims he was unfairly suspended by NRU, not the club and that he will continue to fight for his position at Phoenix until the final outcome of its Annual General Meeting (AGM) slated for today (Monday, 24th March).
“I take note of the NRU information. That, to me, is a misrepresentation and dishonesty. Valerie Basson is the youngest of NRU president Bradley Bassoon’s children and the vice-chairperson of Phoenix. She was instructed by Bradley, who is her brother-in-law to collect the medals from both Phoenix and Pandas players on the day in question, after the Namibia versus Botswana women’s match on 19 October, 2013. The NRU president refused to play the national anthems of Namibia and Botswana,” said Thompson.
After numerous requests by Botswana and Keith Allies (also suspended), Thompson says Bradley vowed to expel him if the story was published in any newspaper. This discussion, according to Thompson, took place in the Western Suburbs RC bar at an after-match gathering.
“I point out these facts, as Mrs Basson saw it fit to mention our suspension as her reason to assume the chair. Also, Phoenix has never officially informed me and Allies of our suspension,” he said.
Thompson and his co-partner, Allies stand accused of bringing the sport into disrepute after an international friendly match between the Namibian rugby female team and that of Botswana.
Basson, however, disputes Thompson’s version of events, stating he contradicts himself.
“[Mr Robbie] Thompson is on suspension, that is why I am the acting chairperson of Phoenix until our AGM takes place. I would like you (this sport writer) to attend the meeting and see for yourself the outcome. Thompson is not allowed to attend any of the club’s board meetings and he knows it. The club informed him regarding his suspension,” said Basson.
Asked why Thompson and Allies were suspended, NRU chief executive officer (CEO), Sybrand de Beer said; “It was just an international friendly and national anthems are not sang during such matches. It’s not true that they were suspended, because of the unsung national anthems but for the way they handled themselves at the match.”