De Klerk rubbishes Lions liquidation rumours

January 16, 2012
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Golden Lions Rugby Union President Kevin de Klerk has beaten off the latest media onslaught on his union with the same efficiency that saw his team secure Currie Cup glory last year.

Jan de Koning – Rugby365

De Klerk, speaking to this website in an exclusive interview on Monday, dismissed reports that his union is facing liquidation.

Following rumours on social media platforms, weekend newspaper reports suggested the GLRU’s former equity partners, the Guma TAC Group, may initiate steps to have the Currie Cup champions liquidated.

This follows similar unsubstantiated reports – both in the social, electronic and print media – late last year that the union was unable to pay its players.

The latest rumours – believed to have originated from sources within the Guma group – suggested that the GLRU’s former equity partner has initiated the liquidation process after it failed to recoup money allegedly owed to it by the Lions.

Guma boss Robert Gumede walked out on the partnership when tension between the two groups boiled over, following a number of boardroom disagreements that turned into an ugly public spat.

However, despite predictions by Gumede that his departure will be the end of the GLRU, the Lions not only found a new equity partner in Glasfit boss Altmann Allers (who is also the GLRU deputy president), but they went on to win the Currie Cup and met all their financial obligations.

“I can state categorically there won’t be any liquidation [of the GLRU],” De Klerk told this website.

“There were certain monetary advances [from Guma] as part of the equity deal they walked away from and we now have to determine exactly what money was advanced for what purpose,” the Lions boss added.

“Our lawyers and their lawyers are now involved in a process to understand the exact amount they are claiming back … that is the long and short of it.”

De Klerk said he was aware of the reports that the Guma Group want to apply for liquidation, but added there are certain conditions that have to be met before any company can take such action.

“You can only be liquidated if your debts exceed your assets and I can say truthfully that is not the case [with the GLRU].

“Our assets exceed our debts considerably and we also have Altmann [Allers, the owner of Glasfit and GLRU deputy president] who has stepped in as our new equity partner.

“He has already invested substantially in the GLRU.”

De Klerk admitted that there will be challenges for his union this coming season, but put it down to “legacy issues” which he inherited.

“Those we will resolve in time,” he said, adding: “There is no prospect of liquidation – we remain open for business as usual.”

He explained that the financial windfall as a result of the Lions hosting both a Currie Cup semifinal and Final (the latter attracted over 50,000 spectators) made a substantial contribution to alleviating any remaining financial issues.

“A win like that [in the Currie Cup Final] also opens other doors for you … it certainly had a very positive effect on our business.”

And the GLRU President, De Klerk, in an interview with this website last year, revealed that the union was going through a process of ‘right-sizing’.

This include reducing the number of players in the union’s books, terminating as many as 13 players’  contracts.

Asked about the reasons behind the right-sizing, De Klerk said they could not afford to live beyond their means.

“I would like to explain it this way: If you have just R100 to spend and your shopping list costs R120, you have to cut something out,” De Klerk said at the time.

“We are now going through that process, it is a long-term process. You can’t keep living hand-to-mouth.

“Unions depend on bums on seats, sponsors, those things for their income. We went through 12 lean years [poor attendances due to poor results] and this union really struggled.

“We are busy with that repair job and it is a tough task.”

The Guma boss, Gumede, was not immediately available to comment on the reports of his company’s ongoing spat with the GLRU.

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16 Comments

  1. avatar Kat says:
    January 16th, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Ja swaer …

    Where is Sam Sole? Make him the Lions media man.

  2. avatar Morné says:
    January 16th, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Reply to Kat @ 6:59 pm:

    Hey I am looking to change careers, I think I must apply.

  3. avatar Kat says:
    January 16th, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Morné, De Klerk sure needs someone else to take the media punishment. His passion for the Lions is unbelievable.

    I wonder what the next story will be … De Klerk’s wife got a speeding fine in 1996 that wasn’t paid?

  4. avatar DavidS says:
    January 16th, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Hey I think Krystle Geach is cool!

  5. avatar Timeo says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 12:14 am

    So reading between the lines it seems the GumaMob wants a refund that the Lions do not want to give.
    Now the GumaMob spreads stories about the Lions being bankrupt.

    My advice is, move on, write it off. Liquidation is not an option. There will be nothing to loot.

  6. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Reply to Timeo @ 12:14 am:

    Yep exactly that… and after liquidation there’s a nice wee shell left to be back-doored…

  7. avatar Kat says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 6:26 am

    The GLRU will pay Gumede back any money that it should. The process now ks to determine what is fair to claim. Gumede will claim x+y+z. The Lions will say that only x+z is fair. Therefore the lawyers. Liquidation only comes into play if Gumede can succeed to claim more than what the Lions can pay after all assets have been considered. Not going to happen. Gumede wants revenge and will try his best to claim as much as possible even if creativity is required.

  8. avatar Kat says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Gumede’s management style is aggressive so he made a lot of decisions on his own and implemented without full consent. This is where things will become interesting in this legal fight. Gumede will claim such monies back as he believes it was done to help the Lions … the Lions’ lawyers will demand proof of consent.

    An example of the problem: Nico Serfontein. Gumede bought Serfontein from the Bulls. The Lions didn’t. Gumede believed he was the right man (a belief I share BTW). Serfontein worked for GumaTAC, not the GLRU. Now that the whole thing imploded who’s responsible for all the money spent on Serfontein? The GLRU or GumaTAC? Gumede will at least try to get reimbursed for any hours that Serfontein spent working on Lions matters. The GLRU may argue that they never formally agreed to his appointment.

    I’m not saying this is exactly how it happened. I’m just trying to provide an example of the complexities involved here. Even the stationary used by GumaTAC will now be claimed.

    It is the stuff lawyers love that make them very wealthy.

  9. avatar Kat says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 7:42 am

    I hope everyone can appreciate why the CC win was and is so important for us Lions supporters. It was achieved despite all this crap going on around the team. The stuff real champions are made of. Those who wanted to see the demise of the Lions got the best klap a team can give. Not many teams could have done what the Lions did. That is why Mitch can move forward with the core squad and cut the rest. He knows the guys he’s got will run through a wall for him and the Lions.

  10. avatar Americano says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 10:10 am

    If Lions are indeed in trouble…
    Call in the B-52 (:
    http://www.toddclever.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=7&Itemid=55

  11. avatar Kat says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Reply to Americano @ 10:10 am: We’ll take him back any day. He’s an icon in the Lions den. One call from him to the GLRU and I’m sure he’ll be accommodated.

  12. avatar DavidS says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Hmmm

    Bryce your call about Ivor Ichowitz (?) and Gumede being scum has been realized…

  13. avatar Kat says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Reply to DavidS @ 11:00 am: Just shows again that one should be very careful in doing desperate things in desperate times. A calm head/approach is always better, especially in desperate times. What a lesson for all to appreciate.

  14. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Reply to Kat @ 10:48 am:

    Get Ernst Joubert back… the guy has been playing 85min blinders for the last 4 seasons up North…

  15. avatar Kat says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 12:03 pm: Would love to have him back, but I doubt very much that he will return to Joburg now that Minki is on his side. I suspect he will return to his Cape roots.

  16. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Reply to Kat @ 12:31 pm:

    Jizlaaik she’s done the codes and players…

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