24 June 2011
The protracted fight between the South African Football Association (Safa) and businessman Stanton Woodrush to own the rights of the name Bafana Bafana is finally over.
Safa vice-president Danny Jordaan announced on Friday that the South African national team will continue to be known as Bafana Bafana.
“We are pleased to announce that we’ve reached a settlement with Stanton Woodrush two days ago on the Bafana Bafana name issue. As a result of our agreement, the name Bafana will now be exclusively owned by Safa,” Jordaan said.
Jordaan said an agreement with Woodrush had been reached to transfer the class 25 trademark rights in Bafana Bafana to the association.
However, the agreement did not come cheaply. It will cost Safa R5-million, payable over a period of 12 months.
Woodrush registered the name “Bafana Bafana” in 1993, a year after the South African national men’s team was re-admitted to participate in global sporting events. During that period the team was known as Bafana Bafana.
As a result, the then leadership of Safa, led by the late Solomon “Stix” Morewa decided to take the legal route to fight for the right to own the name Bafana, but they lost.
In 2005, the Safa leadership entered a partnership agreement with Woodrush under the joint venture company, SLAM, to commercialise the Bafana Bafana rights.
According to Jordaan, when the leadership of Safa was elected in 2009, they took a decision to find a new name for the national team or to reach a settlement with Woodrush.
An ad hoc committee to drive the Bafana name saga led by Jordaan had been in talks with Woodrush since February. An agreement was finally reached two days ago.
Now that the Bafana Bafana name belongs to the Association, Woodrush will have no interest in the name or any trademark rights associated with the name.
Safa will be the sole beneficial owner of the Bafana Bafana brand and will commercialise the rights for its own benefit.
Safa President Kirsten Nematandani said: “Today marks a significant day for the South African football history.
“We feel very happy about the acquisition of the Bafana Bafana name, which allows us to exploit this great brand for the good of the game.
“The future now looks bright as this move has begun to open better opportunities for us to venture into real partnerships with various sponsors.”
Speaking via his spokesperson Neil Lazarus, Woodrush said: “We recognise that the team and the brand are inextricably linked and that they are indivisible in the sense that they have one identity.
“The brand without the team and the team without the brand would significantly dilute the goodwill which is entrenched through their association, and were they to be separated soccer fans throughout the world would be deprived of a much loved symbol of the unity which South African soccer has brought to the nation.”
Safa will now commercialise the Bafana Bafana brand name for its own benefit in the forthcoming 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.