South Africa appeals against the ban on the Rugby World Cup flag

Oct 11, 2023 | Sports | 0 comments

On Tuesday, South Africa’s Sports Minister said the country has appealed WADA’s threat of sanctions for non-compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code, including a ban on raising its flag at the Rugby World Cup this weekend.

The rainbow nation had until Friday to comply with WADA’s new World Anti-Doping Code or face sanctions. South African athletes, including the reigning rugby world champions, could lose their jerseys, flag, and national anthem for Sunday’s quarterfinal against France.

Some believe Pretoria will need more time to meet the deadline.

Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa told a press conference that the appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, aims to “delay” WADA’s decision and spare the country a major embarrassment.

“Until CAS rules, the South African flag will fly at events like the Cricket and Rugby World Cups,” Mr. Kodwa said.

“I believe the appeal grounds are sound, and the sanctions are inappropriate,” he said.

He complained that the national flag ban had caused unnecessary hysteria and unfairly punished athletes and players.

He said the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids), an independent anti-doping body, filed the appeal.

According to WADA, only South Africa and Bermuda have yet to comply with its new code, which took effect in 2021.

“We have this problem because our government has failed to enact new legislation,” South African Rugby Federation president Mark Alexander told local media. “This is shameful. It’s worrying for our nation. Government officials were informed beforehand.”

Minister Kodwa said he had proposed regulatory changes to the cabinet last week and requested that the bill be fast-tracked through parliament.

He said, “I am confident that WADA will recognise these efforts as a commitment to adopt the amended legislation and suspend the declaration of non-compliance.”

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