WPRFU saga: Marais explains the way forward
REACTION: Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais is looking for ‘trustworthy’ partners that “respect confidentiality”.
This is the reaction of the troubled WPRFU boss, following the double – potential knock-out – blow that hit his union this week.
The one-two that was landed on Marais and his executive came on Thursday – when, with 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.
As @rugby365com reported recently, a change of attorneys is at the heart of their sudden about-turn in the aeonian and mutable Newlands redevelopment saga.
Despite the escalating drama around his head, Marais was pertinacious in his desire to take the union forward.
He was bemused by the decision of Flyt to go public with their actions – including “calling up the secured loans” that the Flyt Group holds over the Newlands stadium and other properties.
“The matter is being handled between the attorneys of WPRFU and Flyt,” Marais told @rugby365com, in reaction to Thursday’s dramatic developments.
“We were very surprised in the media release by Flyt, as we have an agreement in place that only joint media statements would be made and that we would at all times act in good faith with each other.”
Marais also accused Flyt of being “selective with facts”.
“WPRFU is taking legal advice whether it [Flyt] would be in breach of the agreement in releasing a media statement.”
The WPRFU boss was equally flabbergasted by the MVM move, given the positive few that was put forward after the face-to-face the two groups had in Cape Town last month.
WPRFU officials and members of the MVM Consortium had two meetings in mid-November – one on Friday, November 13, and another on the following Monday, November 16.
WPRFU was represented by the union President, Marais, Ebrahim Rasool, Chairman of the board of WPPR (the commercial arm of WPRFU) and Danny Jones, General Manager, WP Amateur Rugby.
Masotti, the South African-born-and-bred American lawyer, and Michael Yormark, 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.
Marais confirmed they had no advanced warning about a change in attitude from Masotti, ahead of this past Thursday’s big bombshell.
“We are surprised in the communication, as we are in the process of finalizing the investment offer document for MVM and other interested investors.
“We were then to do our due diligence on all the parties that were serious to partner with WPRFU.”
Marais did not responded to a question about how many other potential ‘partners’ there are and who they may be.
He said he has a clear view of what type of partners they are looking for now.
“Going forward, WP Rugby wishes for the confidentiality of negotiating parties and deals to be respected.”
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