SA Rugby sees light at the end of the tunnel for WPRFU
REACTION: SA Rugby CEO Rian Oberholzer says the sale of Newlands Stadium will be the final step in the process before the Western Province Rugby Football Union can return to its “traditional strength and stability”.
On Wednesday, the WPRFU moved closer to exiting administration, following the approval by its member clubs of a proposed sale of a 74 percent shareholding in its commercial arm.
The proposed transaction still requires regulatory approval, which is expected to be a formality, completing the second of three objectives mandated by the South African Rugby Union at the appointment of an administrator to the Union in October 2021.
“The move to Cape Town Stadium and this critical step in the securing of an equity partner for the union are two of three tasks that were set by the administrator to return the Union to its traditional strength and stability,” said Oberholzer.
“The third is the sale of the Newlands Stadium to clear the Union’s debts, and that process has been on track for some time.
“The sale has been stalled by an application to have the building declared a heritage site but we expect that process to have been resolved before the end of the year.”
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#⃣ICYMI The @WP_RUGBY clubs have finally come to their senses … handing power over to an equity partner 💪#Rugby 🏉#RugbyUnion🌏@URCOfficial 🏆@ChampionsCup 🏅
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) September 7, 2023
Oberholzer thanked the Western Province clubs and the Red Disa consortium, whose bid was approved.
“It has been a long and thorough process and one which no entity could enter lightly,” he said.
“I’d like to thank the Red Disa consortium for their engagement, patience and vision for the Union in the process. I would also like to thank the clubs for their robust engagement on what was a major decision for the Union.
“They rightly had hard questions that required answering but ultimately saw the benefits that the transaction would bring to the Union and the rugby community of the Western Cape.”
Oberholzer added that administrator, Max Fuzani, would remain in place until the Newlands sale had been completed and the equity transaction had completed its regulatory approval process and been concluded.
Recommended by SARU, Red Disa Investments was the only remaining equity offer left on the table – after 13 of the 14 ‘expressions of interest’ fell by the wayside, as @rugby365com reported last week.
Prior to the meeting, SARU had made it blatantly clear that a ‘NO’ vote would bring about the end of ‘funding’ for the WPPR (the professional game) in the Western Cape.
And while there were a couple of clubs that voted ‘No’ to the deal, the majority recognised the opportunity to secure the financial future of the game in the region.