No saviour in sight for Kings as German billionaire bails

Hans-Peter Wild (Getty Images)
Hans-Peter Wild (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The Southern Kings may have to wait a while longer before finding suitable financial backing.

Attracting top investors and sponsors has been a big stumble block for the Kings, who struggled in their debut season in the PRO14.

Without major sponsors and financial backing, the Kings have been unable to build a competitive squad and it came as no surprise that they won only one out of 21 games in their debut season in the tournament.

A visit to Port Elizabeth earlier this year by German billionaire Hans-Peter Wild had started rumours that he was looking to buy the Southern Kings franchise.

Wild is also the owner of French club Stade Francais and during his trip to Port Elizabeth he was accompanied by EP Rugby president Andre Rademan.

The duo visited the Nelson Mandela Bay University’s sport centre, while Wild was also a guest of the Kings at a PRO14 game at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The Kings at the time denied that Wild was interested in investing, but the talk behind the scenes indicated that the German was seen as a possible lifeline for the financially stricken franchise.

Rademan last week told Die Son newspaper that Wild was still considering investing in the Kings, but Sport24 has reliably learnt that it is no longer the case. 

Wild said it was “total nonsense” that he still had plans to invest in the Kings.

Uncertainty regarding the competency of the Kings’ management and administration is believed to have been a stumbling block in the German’s decision to opt out.

Negative perceptions regarding the Kings have become so bad that the franchise is also considering changing its name.

Rademan last week said that “there is a lot of baggage” around the Kings name.

“When you speak to sponsors there is a lot of negativity around the Kings,” Rademan was quoted as saying.

The EP Rugby Union was liquidated in 2016 which forced SA Rugby to take control of the Kings franchise in Super Rugby.

The Kings lost their Super Rugby status last year and they, along with the Cheetahs, were added to Europe’s PRO14.

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