Grey College is expecting to receive a lucrative donation over the next five years from an anonymous source associated with Montpellier Rugby Club in France. Up to 200 students could be funded through this programme which covers leadership, academics and rugby.
Grey dispelled any suggestions that they will now be “buying” talent but it was made clear that an objective will be seeking talent who do not have the same opportunities. This presumably includes students (and perhaps more specifically rugby players) at other high schools.
What perhaps isn’t quite clear is exactly what the wealthy individual/s associated with Montpellier will be hoping get out of this arrangement.
In recent years there has been a crackdown on foreigners by the French Rugby governing body (LNR) who want to see more local players in French club teams.
“As of the 2017-18 season France’s 30 professional clubs in the Top 14 and ProD2 must name a minimum of 14 Jiff-qualified* players in their 23-man matchday squads. They’ll be docked points if they don’t.” – rugbyworld.com
*JIFF-qualified: players who had spent three seasons at a French club’s youth academy before turning 21 or who had been licensed to play in France for five seasons before the age of 23.
So perhaps there is a loophole which allows Montpellier to convert Grey College into their French club’s youth academy. This in turn would mean that in a few years time Old Greys heading to France would not have any issues in securing immediate JIFF rugby status.
From Grey College press release:
The Badawi Legacy Scholarship Programme has committed to make contributions to Grey College in three areas over the next five years:
- The programme will fund the appointment, by Grey College, of a French Language teacher for a period of five years
- The Programme is expected to provide funding support to at least 50 scholarship holders which translates into partial funding support of over 200 student years (2). Scholarships will be awarded to students on an unconditional basis and without recourse or any other obligation during, or post- study at Grey College (3)
- The donor of the programme has secured a commitment from Montpellier Rugby Club in France to make available, to Grey College, resources including a commitment to sharing coaching methods and exchange programmes for rugby coaches
Badawi Scholarships will enable scholarship holders to attend Grey College and will be awarded, on a means tested basis, to individuals who do not have similar alternatives readily available to them. Scholarships holders will be individuals with demonstrated potential in leadership and/or academia and the sport of rugby
- The application process will be communicated in due course.
Agtergrond: Die program, wat uniek is in Suid-Afrika en een van die mees omvattende skenkings in die geskiedenis van Grey Kollege, is ‘n direkte gevolg van die kulturele, sport- en professionele bydraes deur oud-Greys verbonde aan die Montpellier Rugby Klub in Frankryk.
Die donateur, wat verlang om anoniem te bly, het van Grey Kollege verneem deur sy assosiasie met die Montpellier Rugby Klub, waar oud-leerders Francois Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Bismarck en Jannie du Plessis, Jan Serfontein asook ‘n jonger Henry Immelman tans rugbyspelers is. Die donateur het wêreldwye besigheids- en kulturele status en maak hierdie skenking uit ‘n filantropiese oorweging.
Ons bedank die skoolhoof, Mnr. Scheepers, wat hierdie inisiatief ondersteun het op die voorwaarde dat die program tot voordeel van Grey Kollege se seuns asook Grey Kollege se gemeenskap (die Vrystaat en ons land) sou strek. Die program sal dus voortdurend teen hierdie beginsels getoets kan word, en is so ontwerp dat Grey Kollege nie eksklusiwiteit inboet nie, of ‘n finansiële las sou hê indien bogenoemde nie van pas sou wees nie.
Deon Scheepers, Old Grey and Headmaster, said “We are deeply thankful to the sponsors of this programme and remain committed to building a strong and mutually beneficial relationship between Grey College, the donor and the Montpellier Rugby Club. Not only will such a relationship be beneficial to the learners of Grey College, but also because a strong relationship will mean that this programme could become any donor’s blueprint for the further development of talent in South Africa“(5)
(1) It could be argued that these principles applied since the inception of Grey College in 1855 (reference, for example, the contribution made by Old Grey Bram Fischer)
(2) These numbers depend on (a) School Fees payable per scholarship holder, which i.a. depends on the boarding or non-boarding status of the scholarship holder (b) The level of scholarship awarded per scholarship holder (c) the year of intake and (d) Other variables.
(3) Scholarship holders are invited to, but won’t be required to take French as a subject
(4) For the avoidance of doubt: Grey college will not be “buying” talent: The programme will seek to identify talented individuals who do not have similar alternatives readily available to them. Applicants whose financial position does not impose any restriction on their attendance of Grey College or similar institutions will not be eligible for this scholarship.
(5) The programme is not exclusive and will hopefully serve as blueprint for other similar programmes and/or donors
(6) For the avoidance of doubt, the directors of the Badawi Trust, Jock Meiring Trust, and members of the Governing body are acting in the sole interest of Grey College and will not receive any remuneration or other benefit as a result of this initiative