The continued growth of the DHL Stormers was secured by the landmark decision by Western Province’s amateur clubs to hand over the controlling interest for rugby in the region to the Red Disa Investment consortium.
The decision made at a special General Council meeting on Wednesday night, understood to have been achieved with around a two thirds majority when it went to vote, means the financial future of professional rugby in the Western Cape is secured and it brings to an end a long running saga that resulted in SARU putting the union in administration two years ago.
That was because the WP union was deemed unfit to manage its own affairs after a series of bad financial decisions that had the once proud rugby union teetering on the brink of complete financial collapse.
As it stands, the union is still in massive financial debt but the deal secures the WP union an initial R148-million outlay, with Red Disa now taking on a 74 per cent controlling stake, with the clubs taking up the other 26 per cent. This puts WP/Stormers in line with what has happened at two other major South African Vodacom United Rugby Championship franchises, the HollywoodBets Sharks and the Vodacom Bulls.
Red Disa is made up primarily of a partnership between passionate Stormers/WP stakeholders, such the Le Roux family entity, Fynbos Ekwiteit (Michiel le Roux is the founder of Capitec Bank), and Ardagh Africa, South Africa's leading glass packagers and manufacturers.
The deal will be welcomed by all Stormers and WP supporters who have been aware of the way professional rugby was often held back by an administration that was too often dictated to by people elected out of the amateur game to manage a professional entity.
The Stormers won the URC in its inaugural season portraying themselves as paupers who managed to somehow overcome the financial disadvantages they were under but this deal is confirms they cross the barrier from rags to riches and have no excuse now not to consistently remain a powerful force not only locally but also in the global club game going forward.