CAPE TOWN – Western Province chair Ebrahim Rasool says there has been a ‘turnaround of note’ on the field and the boardroom.
Speaking during a press conference yesterday, Rasool discussed a number of matters pertaining to the union, with one of the main points being the two potential ‘global’ equity partners they are nearing negotiations with. He also refuted claims they are being put under administration.
It was last week confirmed that a joint committee – consisting of the WPPR (professional arm), WPRFU (amateur arm), and SA Rugby will oversee WP’s affairs going forward.
One of the reasons for this call was reported to be due to reckless spending or excessive contracts – a claim that both Rasool and Stormers coach John Dobson refuted during the media session.
“There has been a turnaround of note in the recent weeks. After narrow losses and that terrible match against the Bulls, there have been two wins, and that is a definite turnaround. There has also been a turnaround in the boardroom. After all the rumours of boardroom issues, there has been a Lazarus-like revival,” he said.
“We had our meeting on Friday, 21 May. We audited the financial statements of 2019 and we will get an interim report in our next board meeting about 2020. The one thing we had budgeted for and which had not been realised in 2020, is crowd (attendance). We bank on the ability to pull crowds and to sell suites. I think we are solvent, but I think we will have liquidity issues because of that.”
WP have dominated the headlines for all the wrong reasons, not only over the last few months, but the last few years.
One of the latest has been the intervention of the South African Rugby Union, something Rasool said wasn’t a ‘forced’ matter or a case of interference.
“We are on the verge of have detailed negotiations with two equity investment partners, we have signed non-disclosure agreements with both of them. We are asking their records and they have requested ours. We are past the huisvra stage, now we look forward to the marriage with one of them.
“Someone has heard rumours about a six-person committee that is overseeing Western province. We admit that we have moved from one loan and one deal to another, but it’s time to move past that and get an objective opinion where our properties are concerned.
“SA Rugby have been made privy to our financial statements, and Saru are convinced that there is no substance to the suggestion from some clubs that Western Province Rugby should be placed under administration.
“We need external advice, and that’s what Saru offers us. It’s not an imposition, but rather an opportunity to allow Saru a glimpse into the challenges we are facing and opportunity to enlist their help. As soon as Saru tell us who their three people are, we will be able to continue with negotiations. Saru does not want us to get into long-term decision-making, so there will be a group to oversee, but I believe the six-person committee is confined to the property deals.”
Rasool also added that the appointment of a new CEO will be put on hold until they have secured one of the two potential equity partners so they can form part of the appointment process.