Lions lose backing of riches
Johannesburg - Eight months after announcing they had sold a 49.9 per cent stake to Guma TAC, the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) said on Tuesday that negotiations had fallen through.
IT billionaire Robert Gumede and international businessman Ivor Ichikowitz had terminated the agreement.
The Golden Lions had been prepared to keep working on the agreement but unity from both parties could not be reached.
"We have worked very long and very hard at the Union to deliver a workable final shareholders agreement" said Kevin de Klerk, GLRU president.
"We were prepared to keep working on that process, but unfortunately the agreement could not be concluded."
"This is a sad day in many ways, but our first concern has always been for the well being and integrity of rugby in the Golden Lions region, and until all our concerns were settled the union felt it difficult to proceed.
De Klerk said that he could not go into commercial details but explained that the Lions leadership focus had to be on ensuring the health of rugby at all levels in the union - not just with the marquee elements of the Lions team and playing venue.
"Producing a trophy-winning MTN Lions team remains our top priority, but there's always a danger that you can throw the baby out with the bathwater, and our duty as a union is to promote and develop rugby at all levels in the Golden Lions region," De Klerk.
De Klerk stressed that the dissolving of the arrangement would not have a negative impact on the team's preparations for the Currie Cup and that the decision would free the union from the negotiating table to concentrate on their core responsibilities.