WP Rugby refute ‘malicious claims’

Newlands (Supplied)
Newlands (Supplied)

Cape Town – WP Rugby insist that Newlands stadium is not up for sale.

They reacted on Friday to claims to the contrary made by Aerios, the commercial partner in lengthy legal dispute with them over advertising rights.

Aerios say they have been blocked by all of WP Rugby, the City of Cape Town, the Provincial Department of Sport and National Department of Sport in their quest for information – under the Promotion of Access to Information Act – surrounding the rumoured move by cash-challenged WP to Cape Town Stadium.

They wished to see “documents relating to the tenders and/or sale of Newlands and the move by the Union … to (City-owned) Cape Town Stadium”.

Aerios’s chief executive, Costas Constantinou, said they say they would again be “forced to embark on litigation to obtain information to which the ratepayers of Cape Town and supporters of Western Province rugby are clearly entitled”.

He added: “The City and WP Rugby are remaining tight-lipped about their ongoing discussions to move … despite indications that (the talks) may have reached an advanced stage.”

The former company which ran WP Rugby’s commercial interests was controversially liquidated in late 2016, and is the subject of an ongoing Section 417 inquiry into its affairs.

Aerios have also laid fraud-related criminal charges against the directors of WP Rugby, which fully owns Newlands.

But WP Rugby said in a statement to Sport24: “Western Province Rugby and the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) categorically dismiss the malicious and ongoing claims in the public domain that DHL Newlands may have been sold or will be sold in the near future.

“WPRFU have not, and are not currently in negotiations to, and do not have any intention to sell DHL Newlands.

“Any claims to the contrary should be dismissed forthwith as rumour-mongering of the worst kind.”

*Fresh suggestions of a move were raised towards the end of last year, when WP president Thelo Wakefield was quoted as saying they were “confident a deal will be struck”.

He also said: “It is inevitable that we move … if our vision is to be the leading Union in the world, we must also have world-class facilities.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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