Sun | Sep 20, 2020

Time to move rugby forward together - JRFU boss calls for unity after contentious AGM

Published:Thursday | July 30, 2020 | 12:18 AM

With a potential lawsuit no longer a threat, returning Chairman of the Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU), Jerry Benzwick, is hoping for a united front in the efforts to position rugby as a top contending sport.

Benzwick believes that for rugby to become a household brand like other sports in the country, he will need the support of the JRFU, local organisations and the Government.

“I’m the chairman and I have work to do. We are looking at garnering support from corporate Jamaica and the Government to build and grow the sport,” Benzwick said.

“We have a newly elected board and with help and guidance, we will be able to pull the union forward in a successful way,” he added.

Benzwick said that the business of rugby remains the priority and that a potential lawsuit could not have deterred him from his main objective, which is to continue the development of the sport locally.

“We haven’t received any notification or any further letters from any lawyer following up on a lawsuit at this time,” Benzwick said. “I have four years of governance structure to put in place. My board has been elected and we are about the business of rugby.”

Benzwick’s re-election, however, faced opposition as former national rugby union coach Conroy O’Mally contested him for the JRFU chairmanship at the annual general meeting (AGM) held in June.

However, the JRFU board rejected O’Mally’s nomination, stating that he did not meet the nomination requirement, while pointing to non-payment of affiliation fees by his supporters.

O’Mally had argued that he was duly nominated and that his supporters were sidelined by Benzwick’s administration, which he accused of tampering with the proceedings to retain power.

He was intended on challenging the legitimacy of the AGM in court, but later changed his tone because of a lack of support.

“I sent a letter to the minister (of sport) and she didn’t respond anyway, so I didn’t go through with the lawsuit,” O’Mally told The Gleaner.

Benzwick, however, stood by his stance that he, along with his administration, followed all the necessary guidelines to successfully remain in office for a second term.

Athena Clarke