Gideon Sam is the president of Sascoc. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Highbury Media say that their application to the courts to liquidate the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) was to recover about R4.75 million in money owed to them by the SA Olympic body.

Highbury served court papers last Friday in which they have applied for the liquidation of Sascoc.

This stems from Highbury having provided services as the media partner to Sascoc since 2009.

Sascoc responded earlier this week to say that they will be “vigorously opposing” the application, and that they feel Highbury’s actions “is an abuse of the legal and court processes”.

“We view this application and the recent statements in the media as mischievous, and a deliberate attempt at creating a misleading perception that Sascoc is insolvent,” Sascoc said in a statement.

“Sascoc reiterates that we are solvent and able to pay out debts when they become due.

“Notwithstanding, it would be irresponsible of the organisation to continue paying for services that it does not receive, and partner with suppliers who do not align with the values of the organisation.”

On Wednesday, Highbury said in response: “We can confirm the following: A liquidation application was served at Sascoc’s offices on Friday 1 February 2019. We are the applicant in those proceedings.

“The relief sought is an order to have Sascoc wound up (placed into liquidation) due to inter alia their inability to pay their debts as and when they become due.

“The amount owing is approximately R4.75m. The last payment made to us by Sascoc was on 30 April 2018.

“The reason given to the Highbury finance department, for the non-payment, was ‘cash flow issues’.

“It is our policy not to comment about legal matters/or matters which are before the court. However, we have noted the statement issued by Sascoc yesterday (Tuesday), and wish to state that Highbury Media is a strong supporter of athletics and sports in South Africa. We are home to many of the country’s best known sports titles.

“For the past 10 months, we have attempted to compel Sascoc to remedy the non-payment for the services we have continued to provide. Their continued non-payment gave us no other option but to seek relief through court proceedings.

“The non-payment by Sascoc of their services contract has impacted our organisation and its employees, causing job loss for Highbury staff who supported the publications and created content to uplift sport in South Africa.

“We have been a long standing and valuable partner of Sascoc for a decade. It’s unfortunate the circumstances require legal action that could result in liquidation of the organisation.

“We have consistently followed the processes required, and contract terms which exist between our organisations. This will be proven in court.”

The matter will be heard in court on March 12.

IOL Sport