The Kings and relevant stakeholders will meet this Sunday for final negotiations aimed at finalising a ‘historic’ change in ownership. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Back in August, the Kings celebrated a mega-deal that suggested they would ‘achieve a historical milestone by becoming the first black-owned rugby franchise in the country’.
Binding offers had been submitted by the relevant parties at the time, and approval from the SA Rugby executive committee, along with other transaction-closing conditions were expected to take place in the weeks to follow.
Although that process has taken longer than expected to be completed, the relevant parties have consistently reiterated that they remain committed to the cause.
On Wednesday, EP Rugby Union president André Rademan confirmed to SARugbymag.co.za that a meeting has now been set for Sunday morning for final negotiations to take place.
On behalf of the proposed consortium, a group of like-minded business people had stated earlier this year that they were determined to rally together to continue harnessing the rugby talent in the Eastern Cape region. Part of the deal was said to see the group secure a 51% stake in the Kings franchise.
‘We want to build a professional and competitive team for the long run,’ consortium chairman Loyiso Dotwana stated back in August. ‘Our long-term ambition is to achieve incremental growth, which ultimately will result in the Kings winning the Pro 14.
‘By creating an academy and team here, we want to retain the Eastern Cape’s talent. This is the home of black rugby, our team will promote social cohesion in South African rugby.’
The finalisation of this deal would certainly go a long way to strengthening the resources of the Kings, who have managed just one win from 10 games in their second season in the Pro14 to date.
Experienced Kings coach Deon Davids was recently named on the shortlist for the vacant Bulls head coaching position, but importantly, is set to remain with the Port Elizabeth-based side.