Sunday, August 4, 2019

After yet another SABC soccer blackout making the PSL's Absa Premiership matches unavailable, the South African government yet again responds by saying it will plan a meeting with the SABC, SuperSport and the PSL.

After yet another SABC soccer blackout making the Premier Soccer League' Absa Premiership matches unavailable on the South African public broadcaster and preventing millions of viewers unable to watch local football in their own country, the South African government responded as usual saying that it now plans to meet with the SABC, SuperSport the PSL.

Once again stunned into inaction, neither Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa's minister of sports, arts and culture, nor Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the minister of communications, had anything to say on Saturday when the PSL revealed that the latest Absa Premiership season won't be broadcast on the SABC.

The beleaguered SABC demanded a 96% discount on the price to acquire sub-licensing rights from MultiChoice and SuperSport that is showing PSL matches on the DStv satellite pay-TV service.

The ongoing, massive problem with sports rights remains unsolved by the South African government and the departments of sports and communications, who constantly - after a blackout crisis at the SABC - respond with a meeting, followed by some short-term plaster TV package on the gaping wound, and then nothing to solve the long-term systemic problems and bleeding.

On Sunday, Nathi Mthethwa -  a day after the SABC revealed an hour before kick-off that it won't show any matches of the PSL's Absa premiership season - said (like clockwork) that the department of sports it will be having an urgent meeting with the department of communications, SuperSport, and the PSL.

As in the past, the result will very likely be that somehow some PSL Absa Premiership matches of the new season would be made available on the SABC in some patched-programme fashion.

Longterm however, the South African government and ministers of sport and communications will likely simply kick the can down the road as keeps happening, with sports rights and soccer matches an ongoing contentious issue and with the government that remains unable and unwilling to put in place real-world solutions to prevent blackout recurrences.

"The minister will be convening a meeting soon‚ commencing first with consulting individuals and then meeting with everybody concerned at a later stage‚ said Mickey Modisane, from South Africa's department of sports.

"The minister is indeed disappointed that millions of South Africans who don't have access to pay-TV were not able to watch the opening round of PSL matches. It has been brought to the minister's attention and he has made an undertaking that he will be consulting with all relevant stakeholders in finding a lasting solution to this current situation."

"Once all parties have met with the minister‚ it is only then that we will be able to make an informed determination on whether this situation could have been avoided."

"The minister hopes that all parties will make themselves available for this matter that is of high priority and needs urgent attention. The minister will be meeting all relevant parties upon their availability to engage them‚ finding a solution on Tuesday might be impossible‚" Mickey Modisane said.

On Tuesday Bidvest Wits plays against Baroka FC in Johannesburg in the Absa Premiership, and Highlands Park will play against Maritzburg United in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.

Earlier in 2019 the SABC failed to show the Banyana Banyana soccer matches at this year's Women's Soccer World Cup and the SABC also failed to broadcast the 2019 Two Oceans Marathon.

The SABC failed to broadcast Bafana Bafana's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers‚ and there is no deal in place between SABC and the South African Football Association (Safa) before Bafana Bafana embarks on qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2022 Qatar World Cup in the coming months.