Football fans could be up in arms as the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is yet to confirm whether it has secured the rights to broadcast the Absa Premiership.
With the highly anticipated domestic football season set to kick off today and the SABC is unable to secure the rights from SuperSport, it would result in millions of South Africans not being able to watch the games on TV.
However, the cash-strapped SABC has also given no clarity on whether or not it has managed to secure the radio rights for the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
PSL chairman Dr Irvin Khoza said he did not know anything about negotiations between broadcasters SABC and SuperSport, but believed everything was normal.
‘Things are normal at the moment unless you know something that we don’t know‚’ Khoza told the media.
‘We know nothing at the moment as the PSL. The rights are with SuperSport and they are the ones who are licensing SABC. We didn’t get any report up till now‚ unless there is something you know.’
The PSL has since released the following statement regarding the SABC ‘blackout’ of PSL matches:
‘The PSL regrets that the South African followers of the beautiful game will, as a result of matters beyond its immediate control, not find the PSL football matches on the free-to-air television and radio channels of the SABC.
‘This was brought to the PSL’s attention yesterday, 2 August 2019, by SuperSport, the broadcast-rights holder. Up until the beginning of this week we were made to believe the final bits were being ironed out towards yet another exciting season that the majority consume on free-to-air television provided by the SABC.
‘In hindsight, we should have made more of the question by an SABC journalist after the Board of Governors meeting two days ago, on Thursday, 1 August 2019, when he revealed that there was no scheduling of weekend matches to be broadcast by the SABC. Knowing what we know now, it is evident that the SABC had already prepared for a ‘blackout’.
‘According to SuperSport, the SABC proposal is tantamount to discounting the PSL rights by ninety-six percent. This would be unacceptable.
‘Upon receiving a letter from SuperSport about the situation the Chairman of the PSL, Dr Irvin Khoza, immediately wrote an urgent letter to the Minister of Communication and Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture. In the letters he stated that the challenges being faced have legal, public and political implications.
‘In addressing this matter, it is maybe time that the nation accept that the SABC is incapable of meeting its requirements since a ‘blackout’ to the majority who consume their football through free-to-air television and radio is unacceptable going forward.
‘The PSL will provide regular updates to the public as a solution is sought to address this unfortunate situation.’
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