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R340 000 lawsuit against Sharks star

Durban -

Sharks star Ryan Kankowski will come face to face with his former agent during arbitration in Durban this week, when the agent will claim more than R340 000 in commission allegedly due from the rugby player.

Sharks star Ryan Kankowski's former agent is claiming more than R340 000 in commission allegedly due from the player. Picture: Steve Haag. Credit: Gallo Images

In 2010, Touch Sports Management CC launched a high court action in Durban against the No 8 to recover the money it claimed it is owed.

The matter was postponed indefinitely, but the parties agreed to take the arbitration route, Touch Sports Management lawyer Riaan Venter said.

The proceedings, led by retired Judge Jan Combrink, would start on Wednesday.

Arbitration proceedings are less formal than court proceedings, but any order made by the judge is binding even though it has to be confirmed by the high court.

Venter said it was decided to go this route as Kankowski had a busy schedule and was often out of the country with rugby obligations.

The arbitration proceedings would mostly be conducted based on papers submitted to the high court in 2010. According to the papers, the sports management company entered into an agreement with Kankowski in September 2008 in terms of which he agreed to be contracted exclusively to the management company for two years up to September 2010.

It said that should the rugby player no longer require their services, he had to give them 12 weeks’ written notice.

In terms of the contract the sports management company said it would be paid a 7.5 percent fee of the contract negotiated for Kankowski, upon him signing a contract with a rugby club affiliated with the International Rugby Board.

It further said that it undertook to obtain a minimum of R150 000 a year for him in commercial revenue and products while he played rugby in South Africa.

The company said it negotiated a three-year contract for Kankowski with the Sharks, valued at R4.3 million. This entailed R1.3 million for 2009, R1.5 million for 2010 and R1.5 million for 2011.

The company said its commission on this totalled slightly more than R340 000.

Kankowski denied owing anything to the company.

He said in legal documents that he did sign “a vague contract”, but added that he was already under contract to the Sharks at the time.

In an amended notice which would be presented to the arbitration commission, Kankowski said he signed the agreement in the belief that Hilton Houghton, who worked at the company, would represent him.

He was unaware that the agreement was intended to be between him and the sports management company.

He had never intended to bind himself to the company.

According to the document, when Kankowski became aware on June 4, 2009, that Houghton was no longer employed by the company, he felt he was entitled to terminate his contract.

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