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WP Rugby will not be deterred by people with hidden agendas, says Zelt Marais

Western Province boss Zelt Marais says they have had fruitful meetings with their players about the future of the union.

Western Province boss Zelt Marais says they have had fruitful meetings with their players about the future of the union.

Published Sep 10, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Western Province Rugby Football Union president, Zelt Marais says they do not want to get involved in a verbal battle with Raymond van Niekerk following his resignation from the board and the subsequent comments he made in a media interview.

Van Niekerk resigned following the non-extension of fellow independent members Johan van der Merwe, who is also a City of Cape Town councillor, and Andre van der Veen's tenures and has since mentioned this as one of the main factors in his decision. Van der Merwe, a was replaced as Chairman of the board of by former Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool.

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In a media statement, Marais thanked Van Niekerk for his contributions and explained why they aren’t “rushing into any deals with investors or sponsors” .

Van der Veen is said to have been instrumental in sourcing MVM Holdings, an American-based consortium headed by Durban-born lawyer Marco Masotti, as a potential investor. Negotiations are ongoing, although Masotti is looking for a 51% controlling stake in the union.

“We want to thank Mr Van Niekerk for the contribution he made during his time as an independent director,” he said.

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“Our mission, as mandated by the electorate (our clubs, schools, referees and associate bodies), are to manage WP Rugby wisely and responsibly and to restore the union to good financial standing.

“We do not want to become involved in a war of words with Mr Van Niekerk and he is entitled to his opinion. We need to state unequivocally though that his claim that we have parted with logic is far-fetched. Logic is indeed the reason why we are not rushing into any deal with a potential investor or sponsor.

Marais further said that a Non-Disclosure Agreement prohibits them from sharing any information regarding the negotiations with MVM Holdings publicly, but confirmed that they are still in confidential negotiations with MVM Holdings Shell Company - stating that WP Rugby provided MVM with the minimum terms and is awaiting feedback from them.

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“We will continue to keep all our shareholders – including our professional players - informed as the negotiations progress,” Marais said.

“We had fruitful meetings with our players, and they have distanced themselves from the media reports about their purported unhappiness over the past few days.

“WP Rugby will not be deterred by negative comments from people who have hidden agendas and ulterior motives and the leadership will continue to try and reach the best agreement for the union.”

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Marais concluded that they will now embark on finding a replacement for Van Niekerk.

“Our focus now will be on finding a replacement for Mr Van Niekerk - somebody who has integrity, a love and passion for the game of rugby, who would not walk away when things are not going his way in the boardroom, somebody who is prepared to use well-informed arguments to win his battles in the boardroom and not in the media, and lastly somebody who has the interest of the shareholder at heart and not only that of an investor.”

@WynonaLouw

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