VIDEO: SA Rugby trying to keep WPRFU out of court
The collaborative effort between Western Province Rugby Football Union, WP Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd and the national body, SA Rugby, could result in a “settlement” with the Flyt Property group.
The ongoing property saga and related legal costs – after Dream World Investments, an associated company within the Flyt Group, filed formal papers on WPRFU in the Western Cape High Court in March to recover a loan amount of just under ZAR112-million – had the potential to sink the Cape Town union.
However, in an extensive media briefing on Tuesday, Rasool mentioned the potential of a ‘settlement’ in the headline-grabbing saga.
He also played down the discussions with SA Rugby – which are not near reaching an outcome – describing it as a “hand-holding” exercise.
SA Rugby’s involvement came after the request by Tygerberg and 15 supporting clubs that the national body place WPRFU under administration.
SA Rugby declined, because they felt that while there were “liquidity challenges”, there was not a “solvency issue”.
“Like all other franchises, we do face COVID challenges,” Rasool said.
“Because we have been able to resign key sponsors, SA Rugby was encouraged by the negotiations with the potential equity partners.”
He added they have allowed SA Rugby a glimpse into the challenges they face.
Rasool pointed out the reported six-person committee is not overseeing the general running of WPRFU, but rather looking at the “property situation”.
“We need that expertise from SA Rugby,” he said, adding that they can no longer afford to move from one property deal to another -0 as has been the case for the past 18 months.
“It is time for us to get sustainable management of the assets, get external and objective advice on what is the best way forward.
“Sometimes, when your back is against the wall, you make wrong decisions.”
The article continues below the video, in which Rasool chats to @king365ed about the property saga…
He added that SA Rugby has yet to reveal their three members on the committee.
“There’s a hand-holding exercise on the short-term liquidity issues,” Rasool said, when asked by @rugby365com for clarity on SA Rugby’s role.
“The property situation is the major issue,” he said, adding: “SA Rugby would not like us to get into long-term decision-making without the oversight of the six-person committee.
“There are, like with all franchises, short-term liquidity challenges that we must be very prudent about.
“I do believe the six-person committee is confined to the property-related issues.
“We have laid all the cards on the table with SA Rugby.”
He said there has been some “pro-active” work between WPPR and WPRFU on the property issues.
“There is a potential for a settlement on the one side and the potential for a more sustainable deal on the other side.
“We want to put all of that into the discussion with SA Rugby.”
The revelation of the “collaborative management” between WPPR, WPRFU and SA Rugby followed a board meeting last Friday.
Rasool touched on a number of issues in his media briefing.
1. The backlog of audited financials for 2019 and 2020.
2. Sponsorship renewals.
3. Two potential equity partners.
4. The search for a new CEO.
5. The collaborative management between WPPR, WPRFU and SA Rugby.
Rasool reiterated that the ongoing COVID-19-enforced lockdown has hit them hard, as they are unable to sell season tickets and suits at their new home, the Cape Town Stadium.
There is also no clear indication of when crowds will return.
He also revealed that they are “on the verge” of having detailed negotiations with two potential equity partners who are ‘global concerns.
Rasool confirmed that “non-disclosure” agreements have been signed with both and are now doing their “due diligence”.
“We are hopeful that the marriage will take place in the next few months,” the WPPR boss said of signing an agreement with a potential equity partner.
He said at least one potential equity partner has indicated – should they be successful – they would like to make use of their own CEO.
As a result, WPPR has “suspended” the process of searching for a CEO, until they have concluded their discussions with the equity partners.
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