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WPRFU: 'Miscommunication' blamed for rogue statement

REACTION: It took more than three days, but Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais finally responded to a @rugby365 request for clarity.


However, rather than clearing up the matter, the cobwebby and insubstantial response did little more than adding more ambiguity.

Marais responded after several attempts to get an explanation for a very curious and rogue ending to a statement in the wake of a meeting with Marco V Masotti, the South African-born-and-bred American lawyer – the driving force behind MVM Holdings, a consortium trying to obtain a controlling share of Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd – the commercial arm of WPRFU.

Just to recap, WPRFU officials and members of the MVM Consortium had two meetings – one late last Friday and another on Monday.

WPRFU was represented by the union President, Marais, Ebrahim Rasool, newly appointed Chairman of the board of WPPR (the commercial arm of WPRFU) and Danny Jones, General Manager, WP Amateur Rugby.

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 those meetings was the proposed equity deal that has been under discussion for the past four months.

The feel-good the statement – first issued this past Saturday and revised on Sunday, almost 24 hours later – had a very curious and rogue 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.

* (Continuing with Marais’ response below …)


Responding on Wednesday, Marais had the following to say: “This sentence was included in the original statement as a result of miscommunication.

“We updated the statement and we are focusing on the future.

“We are working productively with Marco Masotti to reach an agreement that will be in the best interests of both MVM and Western Province Rugby.”

Marais, who issued his response through the WPRFU media department, did not explain who was responsible for the “miscommunication”.

Nor did he say why it took them 24 hours to issue the revised version.

Surely Masotti – who did not respond when asked for comment – would have had to approve the quotes attributed to him.

The fact it was eventually removed suggested he did NOT approve.

As a result of the delay in issuing the revised version, the pro-Marais media in Cape Town pounced on that rogue paragraph at the end and made it look as if Masotti had back-tracked.

By the time WPRFU sent out the revised version, the damage had been done.

Only time will tell if the two camps eventually do get the deal across the line.

There is no timeline for when the deal will be finalised, but it is likely to be only a matter of weeks before MVM makes a call.

If they do pull the plug on their talks with WPRFU – who, according to their own statements, remain reluctant to concede control of the company, WPPR – Masotti may well look for alternative options.

Unsubstantiated media reports have already offered the Sharks as a viable alternative.

The big advantage Province has over the Sharks is Cape Town and the Kolisi factor.

As the saying goes: ‘Only time will tell’ where this all ends.


Also worth reading …

Mystery of the missing sentence
WPRFU: Update on The American deal
Flyt stands firm in face of Rasool claims
WPRFU don’t want just ‘warm words and promises’
More ‘women and black people’ for WPRFU
Another WPRFU deal gone south?
‘The Titanic has hit an iceberg’

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