Cape Town - Embattled Western Province Rugby (Pty) Ltd were finally liquidated in the Cape High Court on Tuesday ... but the commercial partner in major dispute with them has vowed that “the fight won’t end here”.
Judge Dennis Davis, on behalf of Judge Ashley Binns-Ward, gave the final liquidation ruling after Binns-Ward reserved judgement last week.
It was ordered that WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd - the business wing of the WP Rugby Union - not proceed with any contracts and that the company’s property be sold by public auction, public tender or private contract.
That does not include Newlands Stadium as it is rented.
But Aerios, the company whose stated commercial focus is to sell sponsorship rights predominantly in sport and who have been in partnership with WP Rugby for several years, is claiming R72 million from them for allegedly reneging on advertising rights deals.
Aerios filed papers opposing the liquidation; their chief executive Costas Constantinou said recently liquidation was a “fraudulent plot” by Newlands bosses to try to wipe out contractual agreements.
Speaking to Sport24 on Tuesday, Constantinou said the judgement was “really disappointing” and that they had already submitted their leave to appeal.
“We believe we have solid grounds for an appeal (and) will not let the matter lie.
“Our intention is still to hold the directors (of WP Rugby) liable, and we will be putting in a damages claim - this fight won’t end. It is only the start.”
But WP Rugby struck back in a media statement later on Tuesday, saying: “The allegations levelled against Western Province by Aerios (Pty) Limited were found to have no merit and its opposition based on fraud and an abuse of the court process was dismissed by Judge Binns-Ward in his comprehensive judgment.
“(He) also found that the genuine intentions of the Union in bringing the liquidation application was the best interests of Western Province Rugby (Pty) Limited’s creditors.
“Aerios’s defences to the application were dismissed as being unpersuasive, with no substance and even ‘fanciful’.
“The liquidators, now duly authorised by the High Court, have taken full control of the business of Western Province Rugby (Pty) Limited and will ensure that the winding-up is proceeded with in the best interests of all its creditors, employees, players and other stakeholders.”
WP Rugby spokesperson Michael de Vries also directed any further queries by Sport24 to the liquidator, Chris van Zyl.
A loss of R50 million has been predicted by WP Rugby for 2017, whilst it has also been reported that they have exhausted an overdraft of R20 million from the bank.
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