Safa won’t buy into Bafana name sale

2011-04-23 16:24

The household Bafana Bafana name seems to be destined for the ash heap of history with Safa not keen to part with a cent to buy the brand from the company, Stanton ­Woodrush.

Safa have seemingly grown tired of the long-running battle with Woodrush, a company that co-owns the rights to produce and sell clothing branded with the Bafana logo together with the football organisation.

Safa, Minister of Sports and Recreation Fikile Mbalula and some influential personalities have suggested the name change, and the latest developments point to that scenario.

In the past weeks, Safa and Woodrush have been engaged in behind-the-scenes negotiations to buy the naming rights from the man who registered the Bafana name as his domain in 1993.

A fortnight ago, the company issued a short statement indicating it was willing to sell the trading rights.

“Stanton Woodrush has always indicated to Safa that it is a ­willing seller of the name, and that it would not be unreasonable as ­regards the price.”

But in a sharp twist this week, Safa vice-president and chairman of the negotiation team Danny Jordaan hinted that Safa was reluctant to let an individual take advantage of the national asset.

“It doesn’t make sense for us to spend more than R70 million to prepare the team for the World Cup and we had thousands of people buying the Bafana merchandise only for the consequent revenue not to come to Safa,” said Jordaan.

“We own all other classes except for this 25% class which is the most valuable one. We are paying for players to come and play but when people buy merchandise we don’t benefit.

“It does not make sense for us to spend millions on something if we don’t get anything in ­return.”

Without giving too much away, Jordaan said there was no way ­Safa was going to part with anything, accusing Woodrush of taking advantage of the nation’s ­emotions.

“Bafana team is owned by Safa and we spent millions in paying bonuses so players can perform. We know that on-the-field sporting success leads to commercial success, but where is the return of our investment for the monies we have spent?” he asked.

He added that the richest teams in the world were the ones doing well on the field and people wanted to associate that with success.

The two parties met this week to map a way forward, but Jordaan said the ball was now in Woodrush’s court as they have to formulate a proposal for Safa.

He said his committee, which consists of Safa president ­Kirsten Nematandani and national executive committee member Alpha ­Mchunu, has been mandated to ­approach the company to get back the rights or alternatively find a new name.

“The purpose of our meeting was to first establish whether what we read in the ­media was true. We then asked for their ­proposal on this issue and they’ve undertaken to submit it soon.”

Jordaan said that they wanted to close this chapter as soon as ­possible and that they were ­expecting a response within the next 14 days.

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