The Kings have become South Africa’s first privately owned rugby franchise.
According to The Herald newspaper, a R45-million buyout deal was concluded on 12 December, but the EP Rugby Union, SA Rugby and the business consortium involved closed ranks after their organisations shut down for the festive season.
A source close to EPRU president André Rademan said: ‘SA Rugby will make an official statement from Cape Town confirming the deal within the next couple of weeks.’
The consortium – made up of business people Loyiso Dotwana, Gary Markson, Rory Stear, Kenny Govender and Vuyo Zitumane – will own 74% of the Kings franchise, with the EPRU having a 26% share.
‘We want to win matches here at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and that is what it is about,’ Dotwana said last August. ‘Winning is what is going to bring crowds back to the stadium. This has to be a successful franchise.
‘If you look at the history of the franchises in South Africa, they are all battling,’ he added. ‘If you look at recent statements from SA Rugby, they are looking at curtailing the player numbers in franchises. They have become financially unsustainable.
‘We don’t want to fall into that same trap. The Kings have to be commercially viable.’
Photo: Fredlin Adriaan