CAPE TOWN – One of Western Province Rugby Football Union’s advertising partners seeking millions from the embattled body is alleging Newlands Rugby Stadium is about to be sold and want the union to open its books to reveal all.
The union has denied this and has told more than 100 of its members that no such decision had been taken.
This follows correspondence seen by Weekend Argus from sports marketing company Aerios to the union’s affiliates that alleges the WPRFU has undertaken to sell the stadium and that a sale agreement may already have been concluded.
Aerios’ lawyers have now served notices to the union, as well as the City of Cape Town, to obtain information regarding any possible sale.
The letter also encourages any club wishing to interdict the sale of the stadium to use their lawyers’ services to launch such an application.
“Our clients (Aerios) instructs us that it has been informed by more than one source within the Western Province Rugby Football Union that a decision has been taken to sell the Newlands Rugby Stadium, and that a sale agreement may already have been concluded for the sale of the stadium.
“We have accordingly delivered notices in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 upon the union and the City of Cape Town in order to obtain further information regarding the sale of the stadium and in order to obtain copies of any documents relating to the sale,” the letter stated.
Aerios has been in a court battle with the union to try to recover R217 million it claims it is owed in terms of a deal on advertising rights.
Aerios has been at loggerheads with the union since it successfully applied to the Western Cape High Court to be liquidated.
The future of Newlands stadium was also questioned earlier this month when WP Rugby president Thelo Wakefield announced that a move by the union to Cape Town Stadium was imminent.
But that was before South Africa lost its bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup to France.
Speaking to the Weekend Argus, Wakefield rubbished talks of a sale of Newlands stadium, saying that they would never make such a decision.
Earlier in the week, Wakefield also wrote to its members to reassure them.
“I don’t know who put this in the system; there have been no decisions taken, there is no sale agreement. I don’t know what people are talking about. If they have more information of this, they must let me know,” he said.
“But neither the executive committee, nor the board of directors took any decision, there is no decision.
“Newlands will never be sold, nor will any other property of Western Province be sold. That is a decision we took, it is a principled decision.
“It is not even on the table for discussion, it is absurd. How can we sell a property like Newlands? People will kill me.
“We will respect the constitution, we will always take serious matters like these ones to the General Council, and in this case, it is not even necessary because we have not and will never take such a decision.
“There are contingencies in place to repay debtors, the only one being Remgro, and the others are normal month-to-month expenditures that we have. And we will not discuss our strategies in the media.
“The fact of the matter is we will never sell any property. I will not make the same mistakes like my forefathers did by selling off properties to make the books balance.
“The bulk of the clubs have replied and said they do not believe this nonsense. It is just an attempt to sow division in the province.”