Golden Lions

Golden Lions

Lions 'not so truthful', BBE partner claims

03 July 2011

THE Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) has denied allegations made by their former potential equity partners, the Guma TAC group, that the union is unable to meet its financial commitments.

"The union has had its ups and downs over the years but I am confident that we can look forward to an outstanding Absa Currie Cup season and many more years of providing our fans and stakeholders with the brand of Lions rugby that they have come to enjoy," GLRU president Kevin de Klerk said on Friday.

Guma TAC partners Robert Gumede and Ivor Ichikowitz alleged in an e-mail to De Klerk, which was leaked to the media this week, that the union was battling to pay salaries.

"We created an environment where players were being paid on the 28th of the month. And we've continued to put in money unconditionally," Ichikowitz said.

"We went into this for fun and to help in the transformation of the sport in the country."

"It's not only about trophies, we were going to drive development by introducing rugby in schools in townships like Soweto."

"I'm devastated. The veneer was that people embraced change, but beneath the veneer is that they refuse to change."

"We knew what we were walking into, but also knew how to fix it. It is fixable if the GLRU commits to fixing it."

Echoing Ichikowitz's sentiments, Gumede said he was gutted by the developments.

"Our involvement was not to disrupt the Lions but to create happy moments and success."

"But now we've been forced to let people down. We were being used by people who weren't being honest and truthful."

Gumede and Ichikowitz also alleged that the union owed Absa Bank in the region of R30m, a loan that is due to be paid back tomorrow, and was also in danger of losing about R100m in sponsorships negotiated by Guma TAC.

De Klerk, however, said the GLRU was already in negotiations with other investors after talks with the Guma TAC group broke down this week.

"Our intentions have always been honourable in engaging with an equity partner and my objectives and views around identifying a BEE partner are well documented," De Klerk said.

But Gumede said: "There are people who are resistant to change in the Lions. They are more powerful than Kevin (de Klerk) ."


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