'Apartheid-run SABC of old made a better offer for Bafana broadcast rights‚' says irate SAFA

'Apartheid-run SABC of old made a better offer for Bafana broadcast rights‚' says irate SAFA
'Apartheid-run SABC of old made a better offer for Bafana broadcast rights‚' says irate SAFA
Image: File

South African soccer lovers face the threat of yet another Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana blackout after it emerged on Thursday that the SABC and the SA Football Association’s strained partnership has broken beyond repair.

Safa shocked the soccer mad public with a strongly worded statement that said “all future international football matches involving national teams will not be broadcast on any SABC platforms.”

“Safa can confirm that despite it having opened discussions with the SABC as early as October 2017 to negotiate a new deal on similar terms and conditions as the immediate past agreement‚ the SABC decided to make a discourteous offer to Safa for international football matches to be played in SA‚” the statement reads.

Attempts by Safa to broker a new deal with SABC for the broadcast of national teams’ matches came to nothing as the national broadcaster owes Safa millions from the previous agreement that ended in April.

The matches in question are Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Seychelles at FNB Stadium‚ the return game in the Indian Ocean islands in Victoria on Tuesday October 16 and the home match against Nigeria.

The SABC nearly failed to broadcast Bafana’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Libya in September.

The public broadcaster secured the rights only days before the match after paying a portion of the R50m they owed to Safa.

But Safa revealed that it acted “in good faith” and allowed the SABC to beam the Afcon qualifier against Libya despite there being no contract in place.

The Association said it allowed the broadcast of the match by SABC on the principle that a contract would be concluded prior to the next Bafana qualifying game.

Both Safa and the SABC’s financial woes are well documented.

Safa has gone as far as saying the SABC’s indifferent attitude towards football is “calculated towards engineering the financial downfall of Safa‚ which the Association will not stand for.”

There have been discussions with the SABC as early as October 2017‚ said Safa‚ to negotiate a new deal on similar terms and conditions as the previous one.

Safa revealed that the SABC offered peanuts for the broadcast rights of national teams.

“SABC decided to make a ill-mannered offer to Safa for international football matches to be played in SA‚" continued the statement.

“Safa rejected this offer outright‚ and places on record that the offer is so minuscule that it amounts to an effective no offer.

“It is interesting to note that even the apartheid run SABC of old made a better offer to the Association for their rights in this country.”

According to the Safa statement‚ “there is no other sport in SA that draws a larger TV audience attendance than Bafana Bafana.”

The Association said Bafana matches attract in excess of 4 million viewers regularly.

Safa added that it has written to both the SABC and ICASA‚ including involved government stakeholders‚ in a bid to be relieved of its obligations towards broadcasting sports of national interest.

Safa said it would enter into fresh negotiations with another broadcaster for the broadcaster rights “in line with the commercial value Safa attributes to such rights.”

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