WP Rugby tack­led on sta­dium sale claim

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - TSHEGO LEPULE

ONE of West­ern Prov­ince Rugby Union’s ad­ver­tis­ing part­ners seek­ing mil­lions from the em­bat­tled body is al­leg­ing New­lands Rugby Sta­dium is about to be sold and want the union to open its books to re­veal all.

The union has de­nied this and has told more than 100 of its mem­bers that no such de­ci­sion had been taken.

This fol­lows cor­re­spon­dence seen by Week­end Ar­gus from sports mar­ket­ing com­pany Ae­rios to the union’s af­fil­i­ates that al­leges the WPRFU has un­der­taken to sell the sta­dium and that a sale agree­ment may al­ready have been con­cluded.

Ae­rios’s lawyers have now served no­tices to the union as well as the City of Cape Town to ob­tain in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing any pos­si­ble sale.

The let­ter also en­cour­ages any club wish­ing to in­ter­dict the sale of the sta­dium to use their lawyers’ ser­vices to launch such an ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Our clients (Ae­rios) in­structs us that it has been in­formed by more than one source within the West­ern Prov­ince Rugby Foot­ball Union that a de­ci­sion has been taken to sell the New­lands Rugby Sta­dium and that a sale agree­ment may al­ready have been con­cluded for the sale of the sta­dium.

“We have ac­cord­ingly de­liv­ered no­tices in terms of the Pro­mo­tion of Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion Act 2 of 2000 upon the union and the City of Cape Town in order to ob­tain fur­ther in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the sale of the sta­dium and in order to ob­tain copies of any doc­u­ments re­lat­ing to the sale,” the let­ter stated.

Ae­rios has been in a court bat­tle with the union to try to re­cover R217 mil­lion it claims it is owed in terms of a deal on ad­ver­tis­ing rights.

Ae­rios has been at log­ger­heads with the union since it suc­cess­fully ap­plied to the West­ern Cape High Court to be liq­ui­dated.

The fu­ture of New­lands sta­dium was also ques­tioned ear­lier this month when WP Rugby pres­i­dent Th­elo Wake­field an­nounced that a move by the union to Cape Town Sta­dium was im­mi­nent. But that was be­fore South Africa lost its bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup to France.

Speak­ing to the Week­end Ar­gus, Wake­field rub­bished talks of a sale of New­lands sta­dium, say­ing that they would never make such a de­ci­sion.

Ear­lier in the week, Wake­field also wrote to its mem­bers to re­as­sure them.

“I don’t know who put this in the sys­tem; there have been no de­ci­sions taken, there is no sale agree­ment. I don’t know what peo­ple are talk­ing about. If they have more in­for­ma­tion of this, they must let me know,” he said.

“But nei­ther the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, nor the board of di­rec­tors took any de­ci­sion, there is no de­ci­sion. New­lands will never be sold, nor will any other prop­erty of West­ern Prov­ince be sold. That is a de­ci­sion we took, it is a prin­ci­pled de­ci­sion.

“It is not even on the ta­ble for dis­cus­sion, it is ab­surd. How can we sell a prop­erty like New­lands? Peo­ple will kill me.

“We will re­spect the con­sti­tu­tion, we will al­ways take se­ri­ous mat­ters like these ones to the gen­eral coun­cil and in this case it is not even nec­es­sary be­cause we have not and will never take such a de­ci­sion.

“There are con­tin­gen­cies in place to re­pay debtors, only one be­ing Rem­gro, and the oth­ers are nor­mal month-to-month ex­pen­di­tures that we have. And we will not dis­cuss our strate­gies in the me­dia.

“The fact of the mat­ter is we will never sell any prop­erty, I will not make the same mis­takes like my fore­fa­thers did by sell­ing off prop­er­ties to make the books bal­ance.

“The bulk of the clubs have replied and said they do not be­lieve this non­sense, it is just an at­tempt to sow divi­sion in the prov­ince.”

PIC­TURE: IAN LANDSBERG/ANA

There are ru­mours New­lands Sta­dium may have been sold.

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