Silver lining for liquidated Kings

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:37
Large ep kings saved 800

NEWS: There is a silver lining around the dark cloud that enveloped the liquidated Eastern Province Kings. Jan de Koning reports.

Independent liquidator Danie Acker confirmed to rugby365 that he is close to 'making a deal' that will bring to a conclusion the protracted liquidation saga of EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd.

The web of mismanagement that led to the liquidation of EP Rugby, the commercial arm of the Eastern Province Rugby Union, has been under the spotlight since the provisional order was confirmed in August last year.

Acker said it was important to finalise the process so that the creditors can get (at least some of) the money owed to them.

"We are busy with the 417 [inquiry]," he told rugby365 about the section of the Companies Act that deals with the powers of a court or the master in conducting an insolvency enquiry.

"We are talking with various parties," he said of the possibility of a deal or deals being struck that will bring the process to conclusion.

However, he could not divulge any details, because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

EP Rugby Union Pty Ltd was placed in final liquidation by the Port Elizabeth High Court in August last year, with its debts totalling ZAR58 million.

The legal proceedings date back to January 2016, when a group of aggrieved rugby players took their employer to court.

Trouble started way back in July 2015, when EP Rugby failed to pay players' salaries and other debts totalling R18-million.

At the beginning of 2016 the players' union, MyPlayers, successfully applied for the provisional liquidation of the EP Kings.

The liquidation was finalised last month when the EPRU President Cheeky Watson failed to secure a R200-million sponsor as part of a business rescue plan.

Initially EP Rugby suggested they had a backer who was willing to invest ZAR100-million over the next five years (at ZAR20-million per year).

However, it was subsequently revealed that the Kings' benefactor, Christopher Wishlade of Integrated Sport, himself was declared bankrupt in 2015 and on at least one previous occasion - resulting in the failure of the business rescue.

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

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