SARU heading to court

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:00
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The South African Rugby Union on Wednesday said they will go to court to end a stand-off with Kagiso Vantage.

The South African Rugby Union on Wednesday said they will go to court to end a stand-off with Kagiso Vantage.

Kagiso Vantage, the sports sponsorship and advertising contracts arm of Kagiso Media, issued a statement in which they said they will not sell any advertising space to SARU during the 2013 Super Rugby competition, at Kings Park in Durban, and Newlands in Cape Town.

SARU hit back, saying it was pursuing "legal action" to protect its sponsors' rights in Saturday's Super Rugby match at Kings Park in Durban.

The SARU move comes following the unilateral announcement by the provincial service provider, Kagiso Vantage, that they were withholding perimeter advertising space at the venue.

Both The Sharks (Pty) Ltd and the Western Province Rugby Union, who use the services of the company, issued a statement expressing their shock at the announcement and disassociating themselves from it.

Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU, said that all fees had been paid in full to date relating to all Super Rugby matches, although there was an outstanding commercial dispute relating to one of 17 matches in 2012 - at which Kagiso Vantage had inflated their rates six-fold.

SARU is also in dispute with the company in relation to Currie Cup matches, despite the existence of a signed agreement with the unions. Kagiso Vantage has also claimed advertising income from Test matches at the two venues - events for which no such rights apply.

Roux and other SARU executives were meeting both the Sharks and Western Province unions when Kagiso Vantage issued their statement - an event of which neither union was aware nor had sanctioned.

"I am extremely disappointed by Kagiso Vantage's approach to what is a purely commercial dispute," said Roux.

"Unfortunately it is typical of their attempts to bully SARU and our sponsors into paying outrageous rates for a market in which they appear to believe their monopoly at those grounds has given them a free hand."

The Sharks and WP also expressed shock after being dragged into the stand-off between Kagiso Vantage and SARU.

The Sharks (Pty) Ltd and Western Province Rugby moved quickly to distance themselves from the Kagiso Media stance.

"We dissociate ourselves from this [Kagiso Vantage] press release," the Sharks and WP said in a joint statement.

"Neither party gave approval and are shocked at this course of action and will be communicating with Kagiso Vantage in due course."

According to Kagiso Vantage, who advised SARU that it will not sell any advertising space to SARU at the Durban and Cape Town rugby stadiums, the issue arose from several matches played at Newlands and Kings Park in 2012.

Kagiso Vantage holds all advertising rights to rugby matches at Newlands Stadium. In addition, the company is the exclusive agent of The Sharks (Pty) Ltd for the purpose of selling advertising space on the digital perimeter board in King's Park Stadium.

According to the company the action by the Kagiso Group subsidiary follows the issuing of a summons against SARU for payment of invoices relating to the sale of advertising space at Kings Park and Newlands during rugby matches played in 2012.

Costa Constantinou, CEO of Kagiso Vantage, noted: "Kagiso Vantage sells advertising space to SARU at Newlands and Kings Park that is then utilised by SARU sponsors to display branding, trade names and product advertising.

"Invoices submitted to SARU for payment for this space relating to games played in 2012 have still not been paid. Until these outstanding invoices are settled and additional outstanding matters resolved, Kagiso Vantage will not sell any more advertising space at these venues to SARU.

"We have obtained legal advice from Jeremy Gauntlett on the matter and are determined to maintain the ban on advertising space sales to this organisation until the matter is settled to our satisfaction."

SARU sponsors have accordingly been informed that until the dispute is resolved their branding, trade names and product information will not be advertised within Newlands during Super Rugby matches.

In addition, their advertising will not be displayed on the digital perimeter board in Kings Park during SARU matches.

Constantinou added: "It is regrettable that this action has to be taken and that SARU sponsors are affected in this way. However, we have shown great patience in our dealings with SARU, but to no avail. Our 2012 invoices remain unpaid.

"Hopefully, common sense will prevail and SARU will now take action to ensure payment is finally made."