Sport

spo12. Apartheid Rugby: The Facts

In the mid-1970s the apartheid government announced a new sports policy that allowed ‘multi-racial’ teams to pay in international competitions. This pamphlet showed how sport was still segregated within South Africa. It argued that the new policy was a ‘veneer’ and called for the continuation of the sports boycott.

pic8401. South African youth rugby tour

In 1983–84, South Africa made a determined effort to get back into world rugby, starting with a Welsh Rugby Union sponsored youth tour of Wales. The South African team was invited by the Welsh rugby union to tour South Wales in December 1983–January 1984. Several Welsh local authorities refused to allow them to play on their grounds. Wales AAM supporters occupied the pitch during the game against Gwent in Monmouth.

pic8402. South African youth rugby tour march

In 1983–84, South Africa made a determined effort to get back into world rugby, starting with a Welsh Rugby Union sponsored youth tour of Wales.  There were widespread protests and several local authorities refused to allow the games to take place on their grounds. At the final game in Llanelli on 7 January, over 300 people marched through the town to the ground.

spo22. 'Stop Welsh Rugby Collaboration with Apartheid'

The Welsh Rugby Union had close ties with the all-white South African Rugby Board. In April 1984 it invited South African rugby boss Danie Craven as its guest of honour at a game between Wales and the President’s XI. Three Springboks played in the President’s team. The invitation provoked huge opposition, with a ‘Charter Against Apartheid’ in the Western Mail signed by former prime minister and local MP James Callaghan, most Welsh MPs, church leaders, writers and trade unionists. The Welsh Rugby Union finally severed its ties with the South African Rugby Board in 1989.

spo23. Racism & Sport

Black British sportspeople were especially active in sports boycott campaigns. The main speaker at this conference was Paul Stephenson, the only black member of the British Sports Council. The conference was organised by the Communist Party’s Afro-Caribbean Organisation.

gov30. Letter from Trevor Huddleston to Margaret Thatcher

Letter from AAM President Bishop Trevor Huddleston to Prime Minister Thatcher asking her to stop the English rugby tour of South Africa in 1984. The government refused to intervene and the tour went ahead in spite of widespread protests.

pic8405. Protesting against apartheid rugby, Cardiff

Over 1,000 protesters marched through Cardiff to Cardiff Arms Park on 7 April 1984 to protest against the Welsh Rugby Union’s invitation to South African rugby boss Danie Craven to be guest of honour at a game between Wales and the President’s XI. Three Springboks played in the President’s team. The invitation provoked huge opposition. A ‘Charter Against Apartheid’ was signed by former prime minister and local MP James Callaghan, most Welsh MPs, church leaders, writers and trade unionists.

po078. Stop the Tour in ’84!

Poster advertising a demonstration outside the John Player rugby cup final at Twickenham in protest against the Rugby Football Union’s tour of South Africa in May–June 1984. Student activists demonstrated at Heathrow on the day of the team’s departure. The tour went ahead in spite of a long-running campaign against it. The Conservative government expressed its opposition to the tour but took no action to stop it.