The South African Football Association (Safa) will change the name of the national soccer team, according to the company that owns the rights to the use of the Bafana Bafana trademark on apparel, headwear and footwear.
“Stanton Woodrush was advised last week Thursday by Safa’s attorneys that Safa has no intention of purchasing the trademark, and that they will be going ahead with the name change of the South African national men’s football team,” the company said in a statement on Monday.
According to the statement the national football federation did not require Stanton Woodrush’s permission to use the name, and the idea to change the name Bafana Bafana had been driven by Safa. No negotiations had taken place regarding the sale of the trademark.
“Stanton Woodrush has always indicated to Safa that it is a willing seller of the name, and that it would not be unreasonable regarding the price.
“Safa, however, has never engaged with Stanton Woodrush to discuss the purchase, and has certainly never presented an offer to Stanton Woodrush.”
After hearing last month that the company was willing to sell the trading rights to the team’s commercial nickname, Safa president Kirsten Nematendani expressed interested in buying the already globally known trademark, rather than building a brand from scratch.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula supported the option of finding a new name that would supposedly strike fear into their opponents, as opposed to the tamer current moniker, which means “the boys” in Zulu.
No word from Safa
Nematendani, vice-president Danny Jordaan and Safa executive member Alpha Mchunu have been tasked with finding a new name.
The press release also revealed that Stanton Woodrush owner Wayne Smidt had called a meeting with former chief executive Leslie Sedibe in October 2010 about selling the naming rights, speculated to cost around R33-million, but had received no official offer or further correspondence from Safa.
Stanton Woodrush registered the trademark 18 years ago in class 25, the company stated, and the trademark was registered well before Safa officially associated the national team with the Bafana brand.
It also stated that the registration of the brand was not opportunistic or taken to frustrate Safa’s rights in the brand, and that Safa had initially resisted officially calling the team Bafana Bafana.
In July 2005 Safa and Stanton Woodrush entered into a joint venture company called Safa Licensing and Management (Slam). Both Safa and Stanton Woodrush licensed their marks to Slam at no cost in order to jointly license the brand, in all trademark classes.
“Safa is a majority shareholder of Slam [50,5%] and therefore they shared in the royalties earned for the Confederations Cup and the Fifa 2010 World Cup,” the statement read.
Smidt holds the other 49,5% stake in Slam.
Stanton Woodrush managed Slam and the Bafana Bafana official licensing programme in its entirety for the past six years, according to the company, and Safa had effectively been a silent partner. It added that Safa had not contributed to the success of the Bafana Bafana official licensing programme during the build-up to the World Cup and the tournament itself. — Sapa