Safa, SABC shift posts over match broadcast

2011-08-06 18:58

The live broadcast of Wednesday’s Bafana Bafana international friendly match against Burkina Faso hangs in a R5 million balance.

City Press has been reliably ­informed that the South African Football Association (Safa) is demanding the whopping ­­amount from the SABC for the broadcast rights.

A highly-placed source said the football body sent their letter of demand on Wednesday night, a week before the match.

The SABC had not responded by Friday but had already started flighting adverts saying they would broadcast the match live at 8.15pm.

This could either mean the SABC was confident they would eventually get Safa to lower the price or were covering themselves against ­being caught napping in selling advertising.

Another independent insider said such matches usually cost ­between R500 000 and R1 million.

The source also said broadcast rights for a friendly match ­between Brazil, who were ranked 4th and the 3rd-ranked Germany, would cost in the region of ­$20 000 (about R138 000).

Safa chief operating officer Dennis Mumble ­refused to reveal the amount they had asked from SABC. “It will be like negotiating in bad faith if we told you the amount.”

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago also declined to reveal the figure, saying: “All I can tell you is they are asking for a lot of money.”

He refused to reveal how much “a lot of money” was.

The two organisations are ­currently locked in fierce talks for the renewal of Safa’s broadcast deal which expired on March 31.

Safa claimed that the termination of Rob Nicholson’s contract as group chief executive and the appointment of Phil Molefe in an acting ­capacity was the main reason for the process being drawn out.

But an SABC insider told City Press the main bone of contention was whether Safa had any rights for Bafana’s African Cup of ­Nations (Afcon) and World Cup matches.

This was confirmed by ­Kganyago on Friday. He said,­“documents they gave us show that they might not own the rights they are trying to sell to us.”

He also disputed Safa’s assertion that they had given the SABC their proposal for the new broadcasting contract in February.

“When the previous contract ­expired on March 31, we had nothing from them. They only gave us their proposal in April and later gave us follow-up documents. It was from these that we realised they might not own the rights they were selling to us.”

The new deal between the Confederation of African Football (Caf) and French TV company Sport 5, which gave the football body all broadcast rights to Afcon and World Cup qualifiers, seemed to have put the spanner in the works.

This led to the SABC securing the rights to broadcast the last ­Afcon qualifying game between Egypt and South Africa from Sport 5, and it was apparently on this that Safa based the amount they were charging for Wednesday’s match.

The two matches fell in different categories as the match with Burkina Faso was an international friendly while the Egypt game was an official qualifier.

At number 34 in the world, the Pharaohs are also ranked higher than the Burkinabe who are at 39th. Bafana are currently ranked number 49 in the world.

Mumble insisted that Safa had rights over Bafana matches as Caf was only handling satellite ­(international) rights and terrestrial ­(internal) rights still belonged to national associations.

“We packaged all our properties in our proposal and gave it to the SABC. We are waiting for them to choose which matches they would like to buy and how much they are prepared to pay for them,” he said.

He said Safa’s 10 national teams played an average of six matches per year which “gives a total of 60 matches from which they can choose”.

However, Kganyago said the proposal they had received from Safa named a figure for the rights.

“The main issue of rights negotiations is money, otherwise what would we be negotiating?” he asked.

The two parties were supposed to meet on Tuesday but the SABC asked for a postponement.

Mumble said the reason was that Molefe was out of town, while Kganyago said the meeting was postponed because “we are waiting for a mandate from the executive and the board of SABC. Currently they can’t even give us direction as we don’t know what it is we will be buying.”

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