With just two weeks to go before the all-important Bafana Bafana Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria takes place on November 17, it looks as if the match will not be broadcast on any of the SABC platforms.
There hasn’t been any significant movement in the broadcasting rights impasse involving the SA Football Association (Safa) and the public broadcaster.
This was confirmed by Safa acting chief executive Russell Paul on Friday.
Sport Minister Tokozile Xasa said she had asked her department’s director-general, Alec Moemi, to intervene, but there had been no significant movement so far.
Paul said “the status quo remains”, noting that this could also mean a “blackout” for the planned Nelson Mandela Challenge on November 20.
“We’ve had no further movement from the SABC. No contract, no game – it’s as simple as that, it was in the hands of the SABC. They must make us a proper offer because the R10 million [offer] doesn’t cut it
Xasa insisted that her department would continue to intervene even though the standoff affected the qualifier against the Seychelles last month.
“I have asked Moemi to facilitate that interaction [between Safa and the SABC] and we are waiting to see where that process is taking us. For me, what is critical is that this should be a short-term situation.”
Safa has demanded R110 million a year from the SABC for the broadcast rights to the Bafana Bafana, Banyana Banyana and junior national team games. The SABC is sticking to its offer of R10 million a year.
“We sympathise with the public, but they need to understand that we need the money to operate,” said Paul.
Xasa said the imminent revised regulations by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) could provide a long-term solution.
She said the Icasa review could come up with something “reasonable” regarding sports rights.
The deadlock had put the SABC in a position of having the mandate to be the public broadcaster, “but this mandate is not funded and you have a situation where you have the rights also not regulated”, Xasa said.
“We must find a way where we can come up with something that can give a reasonable idea about how much rights can cost. We want to make sure the SABC is also able to have a choice in some way. This is in the interest of the majority and there should be compromises on all sides.”
Meanwhile, Xasa confirmed that she was waiting for a ministerial inquiry report into governance matters in the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, which is scheduled to be made public in three weeks’ time.
“I could not stop the ministerial inquiry because my interest is to ensure that we have good administrators and good athletes on the side. I am also making my own assessment in the inquiry.”