WPRFU & Masotti: Mystery of the missing sentence
OPINION: On the surface, it was a ‘kiss and made up’ meeting. At least that is what the statement suggested.
However, the statement itself is cause for concern.
Following this past Friday’s much-publicised meeting between officials from the Western Province Rugby Football Union and members of the MVM Consortium, WPRFU dispatched a feel-good account of the get-together in Cape Town.
WPRFU was represented by President Zelt Marais and Ebrahim Rasool, newly appointed Chairman of the board of Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd – the commercial arm of WPRFU.
Marco V Masotti, the South African-born-and-bred American lawyer, and Michael Yorkman, Roc Nation President, were the men in the MVM Holdings corner.
Roc Nation manages two of South Africa’s most high-profile stars – Springbok captain Siyamthanda Kolisi and World Cup hero Cheslin Kolbe.
At the heart of last Friday’s get-together was the proposed equity deal that has been under discussion for the past four months.
“We had a very productive meeting of the minds and cleared up all the misunderstandings we had before,” Marais said in the statement.
However, the statement – first issued on Saturday afternoon and revised on Sunday, almost 24 hours later – had a very curious ending.
It was a sentence, attributed to Masotti, that raised the eyebrows.
“Furthermore, we wish to retract everything that was communicated through the media over the last four months,” the original statement quoted Masotti.
This sentence was omitted from the second version, issued on Sunday.
It raises some very interesting questions.
Why was it added in the first place?
Why was it, subsequently, omitted?
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@rugby365com has attempted several times to contact Marais to obtain clarity on the quote and his statement in general.
Our efforts proved fruitless.
It suggests the ‘quote’ – attributed to Masotti – was not really from the lawyer.
It is significant that this comes from the WPRFU President, who – in the lead-up to the meeting – accused Masotti’s consortium of being ‘economical with the truth’.
Marais also claimed they were trying to “steal” the brands (Stormers & Western Province) from WPRFU for a mere US$6-million (just over ZAR93-million).
However, putting words in someone’s mouth while suggesting you have “cleared up all the misunderstandings”, may suggest you are not negotiating in good faith.
The reason for that sentence being added to Marais’ statement will only be known once he responds to our requests.
It is puissant to suggest someone has retracted everything he said in the media, while putting your own spin on it.
We hope Marais responds to our requests and provides a plausible explanation.
Such behaviour can only lead to strained relationships.
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