COURT RULES IN FAVOUR OF VODA­FONE, FRU

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - JY­OTI PRAT­I­BHA SUVA

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.

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