SABC too broke to broadcast local football
The state broadcaster owes Safa more than R50m from the previous agreement that ended in April
The nation’s soccer lovers face a Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana blackout after it emerged on Monday that the cash-strapped SABC is too broke to broadcast national team matches.
Attempts to negotiate a new Bafana and Banyana contract have hit a dead end as the state broadcaster owes the South African Football Association (Safa) more than R50m from the previous agreement that ended in April.
Unimpressed Safa CEO Dennis Mumble said the SABC had displayed an indifferent attitude towards football and there was a strong possibility Bafana’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Libya in September and the Seychelles in October would not be televised or broadcast.
"They [the SABC] have just been refusing to enter into an agreement with us because they say they do not have any money. So what they want to do is substantially reduce the fee that we charge them or they paid during the last contract," he said.
"We have been negotiating since January and we have not got anywhere because there is no appetite for football in the SABC. That is my impression."
This news will stun the nation’s soccer lovers as they are still reeling after the public broadcaster’s empty coffers led to the SABC failing to broadcast the opening weekend of the Premier Soccer League (PSL). SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said he was in a board meeting and was not available to comment on Monday.
Mumble did not mince his words and questioned the public broadcaster’s commitment to broadcasting the local game.
"You would probably have to ask them [SABC] exactly how important the national team is to the public broadcaster‚" he said.
"In the last two discussions 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 … we therefore cannot spend money. Can you please help us convince government to give us money’."
Vuyo Mhaga‚ the spokesman for Sport and Recreation Minister Tokozile Xasa‚ said they hoped to get Safa‚ the PSL and the communications ministry under one roof by the end of the week so they could tackle the problem.