The South African Rugby Union said on Wednesday that it was pursuing legal action to protect its sponsors’ rights in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match at Kings Park in Durban.
The move comes following the unilateral announcement by a provincial service provider 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 a company called Kagiso Vantage, 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 Vodacom 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 Absa 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.”
Joint statement from The Sharks and Western Province
Following a media release by Kagiso Vantage and a letter to SARU sponsors, sent on February 27, 2013, The Sharks (Pty) Ltd and Western Province Rugby would like to state the following: We dissociate ourselves from this press release. 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 they have advised SARU that it will not sell any advertising space to SARU during the 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby Competition, at Kings Park Stadium, Durban and DHL Newlands, Cape Town.
This issue arose from matches played at DHL Newlands and Kings Park in 2012.