Golden Lions and friends fall out
South African Rugby Union (Saru) chief executive Jurie Roux will meet Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) top brass today as relations continue to sour between the Lions and their franchise partners, the Pumas and Leopards.
The Leopards and Pumas are in dispute with the GLRU over money owed to the two smaller unions in the Lions franchise. [The Golden Lions, Pumas and Leopards form part of the Lions in the Super 15.]
In the case of the Leopards the total amount they are demanding is about R3.2-million. The amount claimed by the Pumas is lower as some debts they owed to the GLRU were written off in lieu of their annual franchise agreement payment.
This issue was raised at last week's Saru council meeting in Cape Town and some tentative agreements were made. Roux will attempt to firm those up in his meetings with the GLRU.
"There was an application in 2006 in which these three provinces applied to be the Lions franchise," said Leopards president Andre Day .
"That application was accepted and in terms of that agreement the GLRU was supposed to pay both the Leopards and the Pumas an annual fee. They duly paid in 2006 and partly paid in 2007 but since then there has not been a cent paid.
"The agreement was that they would pay us R750000 a year for five years with 5% increase annually. But no formal documents were signed between the parties and that is part of the dispute."
Attempts to reach Lions president Kevin de Klerk yesterday were unsuccessful.
The Leopards and the Pumas have asked Saru to use the R6.6-million Super 15 broadcast rights payment due to the Lions as a means of settling the debt they feel is owed to them.
After the 2010 Super rugby season, franchises no longer had to pay a R2-million fee to Saru to play in Super rugby. Instead, in 2011 they received a R6.6-million broadcast rights grant, which means a positive turnaround of about R9-million per franchise since the tournament expanded to 15 teams. And the Leopards and Pumas have seen none of that cash.
Both the Leopards and Pumas "will each accept" R1-million of the R6.6-million broadcast payment.
"To be clear, the broadcast fee from Saru is not money paid to the GLRU, it is money paid to the franchise, which includes the Leopards and the Pumas," Day said.