COURT RULES IN FAVOUR OF VODAFONE, FRU
The Supreme Court of Fiji yesterday ruled in favour of Vodafone Fiji Limited and Fiji Rugby Union in a case brought to court by Digicel (Fiji) Limited. The matter stems from Vodafone signing sponsorship deal with the FRU to sponsor the Fijian 7s team, after the sponsorship agreement between Digicel and Fiji Rugby Union had expired. Digicel had argued that they had the “option to match” any new deal that Vodafone had offered when it signed up as the major sponsor of the national sevens rugby team. Representing Vodafone were Suruj Sharma and Emmanuel Narayan of Patel Sharma Lawyers, representing Fiji Rugby Union was Nilesh Lajendra of Lajendra Law and representing Digicel were Manuel Varitimos QC from Brisbane, Australia, who was assisted by two other lawyers_- Mary Muir and Michael Turner. Justice Saleem Marsoof, Justice Brian Keith and Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare yesterday ordered Digicel to pay $5000 to Vodafone and $5000 to Fiji Rugby Union as costs. “The appeal is dismissed with costs fixed at FJ$5000 payable severally by the petitioner to each of the respondents. The total cost of appeal to the court payable by the petitioner is FJ$10,000.” The High Court in Suva has also been directed to call the matter within three weeks and make appropriate orders for having the expeditious trial or disposal of this case. On March 13, 2014 the High Court in Suva had refused Digicel certain injunctive orders against Fiji Rugby Union and Vodafone. When
the High Court had ruled against Digicel in the matter, it then appealed the decision at the Fiji Court of Appeal. On 12 June 2015, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court. The matter was then taken up to the Supreme Court of Fiji by Digicel.
Digicel had sought injunctive orders to restrain Fiji Rugby Union from outfitting the Fijian 7s team with jerserys or any other gear or articles of clothing displaying the logos and or names off the Vodafone Consortium or any third party. The Vodafone-led consortium which also has Fiji Airways, CJ Patel (Fiji) Limited, Home Finance Company, Telecom Fiji Limited and Fijian Holdings Limited signed a $40million sponsorship for five years.
Digicel had argued that they had the “option to match” any new deal that Vodafone had offered when it signed up as the major sponsor of the national sevens rugby team.