Thursday, March 4, 2021

Mistrust and secrecy blamed as cracks appear within Rollers Interim Committee

In the wake of Township Holdings owners, Somerset Gobuiwang and Jagdish Shah squaring up, fresh rumours of cracks within the Township Rollers FC interim committee have now surfaced. While rumours of the said cracks have been categorically denied by interim committee members, sources close to the Rollers Interim Committee say the committee is very polarised. It is alleged that there are a lot of trust issues within the committee, with members accusing each other of working behind each other’s backs.

At the heart of the said mistrust is an alleged plot by the Pro Jagdish Shah members to give the tycoon the team, at the exclusion of any other potential investors. “They (pro Jagdish Shah Members) have already drawn up a company with which to give Shah control of Township Rollers without consulting other committee members. This company was done secretly by the said committee members but the draft somehow found its way to the other members,” a source said. Despite denials by Township Rollers FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Phempheretlhe Pheto that no such company has been formed, a company draft that has come into the hands of Sunday Standard Sport says otherwise.

According to the draft company papers passed to Sunday Standard, process is underway to form a company which will come to be known as Elite Football Property. According to excerpts from the leaked draft, the purpose of the said company is ‘to secure funding for Township Rollers senior team through the leasing of the Elite Football Property to Jagdish Shah.’ Under the said lease agreement draft, Shah will be given Elite Football Property ‘to fund and manage it for profit for a period of 15 years solely for himself.’ With Shah said to be currently funding the team, as part of the company’s draft lease, all the monies that Shah will have put into the team starting from October 4th to the January 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) where he will be expected to be given the team to run, will be treated as a loan ‘to be paid by the society (Township Rollers) through future lease fees.’  Under the draft policy agreement, Shah will pay ‘lease fees of 20 percent commission on sale of merchandise by the society.’

To ensure that Shah’s bid to run Rollers is uncontested, the draft stipulates that ‘in the case of any other interested party other than the current funder of the team, Jagdish Shah, the interested party shall ‘provide a P10 million bank balance or bond within two days of receiving the proposal.’ The emergence of this draft is said to have rubbed some committee members the wrong way, who feel the committee is veering off its mandate to do what is best for Rollers. “This shows that some members are determined to give Shah the team without even looking out for what is in the best interest of the team. This draft is so skewed towards Shah that it seeks to deny anyone with interest from making a bid. They are not even willing to find if there can be any sponsors who can come on board,” the source said.

On the other hand, the pro Shah members have accused the other members of the committee of conniving to seek alternative sponsors without the knowledge of others. “We are aware that they went to one local company to seek sponsorship. Unfortunately, when the businessman they approached had almost agreed to come on board, their plan was scuppered by a third force and that is when we knew of their plans,” the source said. The pro Shah members are also accusing the other members of negotiating and taking sides with Gobuiwang. The divisions have however been played down by Pheto, who said while they had a lot of misunderstandings when the Interim was at its formative days, things have changed. “Yes, we do have our differences but unlike at the beginning, we are now able to talk them through. But I can assure you that there are no divisions within the interim committee,” the Rollers PRO said.

On the issue of investors and sponsors, Pheto said at the moment, the interim committee is united in exploring all alternatives of bringing on board investors. He, however, said as Shah is currently funding the team, the interim committee is unanimous in that he must be given first priority when looking at potential investors or sponsors. “He (Shah) has assured us that should there be any potential investors or sponsors willing to come on board, he is open to working with them,” the Rollers PRO said. The latest rumours of cracks within the Rollers interim committee comes just days after Gobuiwang is said to have served Shah with legal papers demanding that he be given what is due to him from his shares at Township Holdings. After months of keeping his own counsel, Gobuiwang’s decision is seen as paving way for him to seek legal redress, something which is likely to see Rollers through to the Courts of Law yet again.

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