Sunday, October 21, 2018

War between the SABC and the South African Football Association over broadcasting rights escalate as Safa gets ready to ask parliament for permission to dump the SABC and not be forced to sell rights to the struggling public broadcaster.

The South African Football Association (Safa) is ramping up it fight with the SABC and now plans to go to parliament to request that it be allowed to dump the SABC when it comes to the sale of local Bafana Bafana football rights and be allowed to sell rights commercially for what it's really worth to broadcasters who are actually able to pay for it.

Safa is sick of the SABC and no longer wants to be compelled to sell broadcasting rights of the national men and women's football matches to the basically bankrupt South African public broadcaster that isn't able to pay for it or to pay what the matches are worth.

Safa wants to be allowed to sell its rights commercially to broadcasters able to pay what Safa can get for licensing rights, in line with what national rugby and cricket get for broadcasting rights.

Safa and the beleaguered SABC are in a growing standoff over the broadcasting rights of the Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana national soccer teams, with the minister of sports, Tokozile Xasa and the minister of communications, Nomvula Mokonyane, who lied earlier this year when they said they had intervened to settle problems between Safa and the SABC - but who have both since been completely silent on the matter.

The Sunday Times reports that Safa plans on going to parliament's portfolio committee on sports in the escalating war between Safa and the SABC.

The cash-strapped SABC has made an extremely lowball offer of only R10 million for the Safa broadcasting rights, while it reportedly paid R235 million for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) rights.

Safa demanded R200 million for the Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana broadcasting rights for the new season after it got R150 million previously for the season that ended in April, and which the SABC was extremely late with paying.

Safa said it was however willing to renew its deal with the SABC for soccer rights for R110 million per year, but even this was too much for the SABC.

Russell Paul, acting Safa CEO, called the situation with the SABC unable and unwilling to pay for Bafana broadcasting rights and what it's worth, "untenable".

"We said, guys, if it's a problem for the public broadcaster to be able to pay this, then remove us from this stipulation [of having to work with the SABC over sport of national interest] so that we can then exploit our rights commercially in the same manner as cricket and rugby," said Russell Paul.

South Africa's local national rugby rights are worth R670 million and the local national cricket rights are worth R200 million.

"In the last two discussions we have had with them - and this is with the top leadership of the SABC - the position was we do not have money and we want to be a responsible broadcaster and therefore we cannot spend money," Safa said.

The SABC said it would make a submission to parliament's portfolio committee on sport about the issue, if asked.