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VIDEO: The big 'split' at Newlands

Ebrahim Rasool, WPPR Chairman, and John Dobson, WP coach

BREAKING NEWS: The first, critical, steps in securing the financial sustainability of the game in the Western Cape was taken at the weekend.


It was revealed on Tuesday the Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd – the professional arm of the Western Province Rugby Football Union – has separated from the union.

In an extraordinary, exhaustive media briefing Ebrahim Rasool, Chairman of the Board of Directors of WPPR, announced that the decision to make the big split was taken at a meeting this past Saturday,

The decision followed two major bombshells that hit Newlands last week.

The one-two that was landed last Thursday – when, within hours of each other, Flyt (the redevelopment partners of the Newlands and Brookside properties) announced it is going to claim damages and then their American partners (MVM Holding) also dropped the bomb that they are walking away.

Marco V Masotti, the South African-born-and-bred American lawyer, confirmed that MVM Holdings ceased negotiations with the WPRFU.

Flyt CEO Zane de Decker announced earlier on Thursday that his company was to claim ‘damages’ from WPRFU, over the latter’s decision to renege on the deal the two groups signed in June.


Rasool, both in the media briefing and in a statement, revealed the “pivotal changes” as part of a dramatic change in direction.

Flanked by WP and Stormers coach John Dobson, he said they are determined to achieve “excellence” – both on and off the field.

He also spoke of the need for “sound governance”.

Despite all the drama of the past year – which saw the union, WPRFU, walk away from agreements (which included loans) with Remgro and Investec, while also making plans to turn their backs on development partner Flyt – Rasool believes they will continue to field a world-class rugby team.


Dobson said he was “enormously excited” about the way forward and even suggested there was a “strong possibility” that former Western Cape players want to return.”There is a possibility of great acquisitions,” the coach said.

He added that he has had some informal chats – one-on-ones – and every player has indicated the desire to stay at Newlands.

Rasool also spoke of “player happiness and security”, while adding that “financial accountability and sustainability” are at the forefront of the new structure.

He also spoke of transparent governance, engagement with all stakeholders and inclusive transformation.

“This commitment to rugby excellence is not based simply on guaranteeing player welfare and happiness, or successfully negotiating new contracts, but also creating an enabling environment for them to keep performing with pride and determination,” Rasool said.

“In terms of governance stability and integrity, the board [of WPPR] has undertaken to further separate the powers and functions of the union [WPRFU] and the company,” Rasool said.

He added that they will start the search for a new CEO in January and expect the appointment to be made by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

They have also co-opted Solly Moeng onto the board and Management Committee of the company.

According to Rasool WPRFU, President Zelt Marais will remain a “valuable” director on the board, although he will have pruned powers – so as to “not overburden him with responsibilities”.

“We have incredible potential as a company and we also have some valuable assets in the form of our world-class players, top sponsors and of course our passionate support base,” Rasool said.


Also worth reading …

Marais explains the way forward
And the hits keep coming
Flyt bomb drops on Newlands saga
Siya Kolisi is going nowhere’
Change of attorneys at heart of WPRFU about-turn
New legal twist in Newlands saga
‘Miscommunication’ blamed for statement
Mystery of the missing sentence

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