Ex-backers take Lions to court
Cape Town - The Guma TAC group say they have initiated legal proceedings to recover their loan following the souring of their relationship with the embattled Golden Lions Rugby Union.
In a media statement on Tuesday, they said they were “disappointed that our dream of transformation in the Golden Lions could not be realised”, adding that “the executive management and the Lions’ new investor, businessman and Lions deputy president Altmann Allers, have left us with no alternative”.
Guma TAC claim they “provided the Lions with millions of rands to pay the salaries of the Lions players and staff for both December 2010 and January 2011”.
They also said in the statement that had the Lions failed to pay the players’ salaries over that period, it would have led to the breach of player contracts which would have led to an exodus of key players.
“Furthermore, the loans enabled the Lions to sign top international players like Butch James and Lionel Mapoe and to pay the 24 amateur feeder GLRU clubs their GLRU grants.”
Guma TAC say they also funded secure accommodation and transport for Currie Cup 2011-winning coach John Mitchell “following the unfortunate house-breaking and stabbing attack on him at his apartment”.
They added: “As you are aware, Guma TAC on its own, within the GLRU, managed to sign up both MTN and Discovery (over R60m, three-year) sponsorships.
“When SARU finally approved our transaction, Lions president Kevin de Klerk and his executive, which included (Allers) frustrated the finalisation of the transaction by refusing to confirm SARU’s approval.
“We nonetheless ... afforded the Lions an opportunity to repay our loans and to facilitate an amicable and negotiated exit once they got a replacement equity investor.
“We were dismayed when the Lions’ executive management and the new financier Allers not only refused to pay us but now deny that they owe us anything.”
Guma TAC said it “hurt” them to have to turn to the courts to recover money that was “loaned in good faith at a time the Lions’ bankers refused to extend further credit facilities and the Lions’ president (De Klerk) turned to us in desperation to advance funds to pay, amongst other commitments, the players and staff”.
“We have a deep affection for the team, its players, the staff and fans.”