WP Rugby placed into final liquidation

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 16:25
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UPDATE: Western Province Rugby (Pty) Limited was placed into final liquidation by the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd applied for provisional liquidation on November 7. It was a shock announcement by WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd - the commercial arm of the Western Province Rugby Football Union - at the time and it followed damages claims of around ZAR70-million from Aerios, a company whose stated commercial focus is to sell sponsorship rights in sport.

Constantinos Constantinou the Chief Executive Officer of Aerios, in court papers and in public statements, opposed the application and accused the WPRFU brains trust of 'widespread misconduct' and using a 'legal loophole' to obtain the liquidation and avoid the damages claim.

However, his allegations were dismissed by judge Ashley Binns-Ward.

"The allegations levelled against Western Province by Aerios (Pty) Limited were found to have no merit and its opposition based on fraud and an abuse of the court process was dismissed by Judge Binns-Ward in his comprehensive judgment delivered earlier today," said a WP Rugby statement. 

"Judge Binns-Ward also found that the genuine intention of the Union in bringing the liquidation application was the best interests of Western Province Rugby (Pty) Limited's creditors.  

"Aerios's defences to the application were dismissed as being unpersuasive, with no substance and even 'fanciful'.

"The liquidators, now duly authorised by the High Court, have taken full control of the business of Western Province Rugby (Pty) Limited and will ensure that the winding-up is proceeded with in the best interests of all of its creditors, employees, players and other stakeholders."  

Disputes between Aerios and WP Rugby centred on advertising rights, sponsorship agreements, WiFi services inside the stadium and digital rights to live-stream matches.

Constantinou also claimed that WP Rugby had made several payments to his company this year, including ZAR2-million just days before the provisional liquidation - something, he feels, a bankrupt company would not be able to do.