The Namibian Rugby Union (NRU) face legal action after its chief sponsor, MTC, objected to the Union’s use of a rival sponsor to host a match.
Rugby 365 reports that MTC objected heavily to the NRU’s decision to use First National Bank (FNB) as sponsor to host a match between a Namibian invitational team and Western Province.
According to the Republikein, Namibian sponsors MTC responded only minutes after the match was officially announced by the offices of the NRU.
Albertus Aochamub, head of corporate services of mobile phone company MTC, told the Republikein that the company wished to express its strongest disapproval of the NRU’s decision to stage the match, as it would represent an action in breach of the contract that exists between MTC and the NRU.
MTC’s absence at the time of the NRU’s announcement of the match was very pertinent, despite the fact that the company expressed its objections to the NRU on Thursday in writing about the match, which is scheduled for June 7 at the Hage Geingob stadium.
“Only two days ago we were made aware that the match would be hosted here [in Namibia], much to our surprise,” said Aochamub.
“We were never acknowledged in the entire process, and it is a breach of our partnership with the NRU of NA$6-million (US$792,000) over three years.
“Despite the fact that we objected, the match was still officially announced,” he continued.
A disgruntled Aochamub also stated that the company would not hesitate to take legal steps.
“We’ll do what we have to, even if it means that we have to get an urgent court order to stop the match from taking place.”
Keith Allies, chief executive officer of the NRU, told the Republikein that the match was offered to the NRU, and that the match promoter, Willem Strauss of Bizsport in South Africa, and FNB had an existing contract for the staging of the match.
Allies also confirmed that the contract was issued to MTC.
At lunchtime on Thursday, MTC released a strongly-worded media release in which it categorically stated that although the company agreed that the national team should engage in practice matches prior to important international games, it did not give the NRU the right to break their contractual commitments to MTC.
All Namibian representative teams are covered by MTC’s sponsorship contract, which means that the arrangement with FNB constitutes a breach of that contract. The media release also stated clearly that MTC reserved the right to first refusal regarding any matches that involved the national team.
Despite these statements, the MTC’s objections were ignored and the Western Province game was announced.
The media release also indicated that on top of the NA$6-million (US$792,000) to be spent on Namibian rugby over three years, MTC also secured sponsorship to Namibia’s 2007 World Cup participation via a NA$500,000 (US$66,000) investment.
MTC is one of the major sponsors of sport in Namibia, and its sponsorships of various sporting codes total more than NA$10-million (US$1.32-million) per year. MTC also intervened to save the Hage Geingob stadium from being auctioned off due to outstanding debt.
Through their intervention, MTC also earned the sole rights to display their trademark throughout the stadium.Tweet