New sponsor signs up to dig Lions out of their hole

Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) president Kevin de Klerk says the signing of a multi-million rand sponsor will assist with legacy issues at the union.

The GLRU, reportedly in deep financial crisis, signed a three-year deal with Redefine Properties on Thursday.

“It will fall into the budget and we are projecting to have all these legacy issues sorted out in the very near future,” De Klerk said.

“We project to be cash flush in months — we are not saying that we are not [cash flush] — but this has gone a long way in alleviating the situation at the Lions.”

Former GLRU potential equity partners the Guma TAC Group said in January the union was “hopelessly insolvent, both factually and commercially”.

Guma TAC took steps to liquidate the GLRU, filing papers at the South Gauteng High Court to regain multi-million rand loans.

Jointly owned by Robert Gumede and Ivor Ichikowitz, Guma Tac cut ties with the GLRU in June 2011, shortly before it was to have purchased a 49.9% stake in the union.

Equity partners
The Leopards and the Pumas, franchise partners, were also reportedly owed millions of rands by the union.

“Altman Allers coming in as equity partner has helped that tremendously,” De Klerk said.

“The legacy issues we’ve had are tied up between the Leopards and the Pumas going back a number of years.”

De Klerk assured Redefine Properties, the new co-sponsor of the Lions franchise team, the 2011 Currie Cup champions, it had bought into a reliable product.

“We at the Lions have been building our vision to become a winning culture, powerhouse of rugby and centre of excellence,” De Klerk said.

“In the modern game, this cannot be without the gracious support of our sponsors … Redefine has nailed their colours to our cross and we are extremely grateful to have them on board … We would like them to be assured that they have bought into a highly committed people that have the vision and drive to collectively establish the Lions brand as a world leading brand again.” — Sapa

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