Televised boxing put on hold – for now

2014-02-02 14:00

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Promoter and sports ministry in legal wrangle.

Excited boxing fans might have to wait a little longer to see action back on the SABC television screens.

Promoter Branco Milenkovic has thrown a spanner in the works following a joint announcement last week by SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Boxing SA (BSA) and himself that they had buried the hatchet and the sport will be beamed live soon.

This week, the Branco Sports Productions boss sang a different tune, telling City Press the department of sport and recreation’s legal team will need to reach an agreement with his legal advisers before boxing can be seen on SABC channels.

Milenkovic applied for an interdict against BSA and SABC in 2012 after the public broadcaster and the boxing body signed a memorandum of understanding on broadcasting rights.

This week, he said the case was still very much alive and his legal team was meant to meet with the department’s counterparts to pave the way forward that will see the end of the three-year TV blackout.

The department’s spokesperson, Paena Galane, confirmed that the two parties will be meeting next week.

“This is one thing we want to resolve as soon as possible for boxing to return to television,” he said.

The parties had announced that boxing would be televised in the next financial year, which begins in April.

Milenkovic could not guarantee whether or not he was to let go of the court case.

He said: “Everything depends on what our lawyers decide. It is also important that the other parties keep to their end of the deal.”

To the contrary, a statement released by BSA this week says “all challenges affecting the broadcasting of boxing were cleared”.

BSA chairperson Ntambi Ravele was confident Milenkovic would not pursue the matter in court following his endorsement of the resolutions of last year’s boxing indaba.

She said: “It’s an issue of looking for what’s best for boxing.”

In the statement, BSA also calls for all promoters to get ready to apply for dates to have their tournaments broadcast.

But Milenkovic was not copied in the statement addressed to promoters and managers.

The 48-year-old promoter expressed his anger over not receiving the communique and added that this was not the first time the boxing regulator sidelined him from correspondence to other promoters.

“It’s rather surprising that I get to hear about this from media people, more especially following a meeting I thought was held in good faith last week,” he said.

»?Meanwhile, BSA has been visited by the sheriff of the court to collect legal fees owed to Milenkovic, which amount to more than R55?000.

The fees relate to the BSA and SABC matter as well as a case about an agreement between Milenkovic and boxer Vusi Malinga, which BSA refused to approve.

The Malinga matter went unopposed as BSA failed to show up in court, while Milenkovic’s legal team was granted sight of agreements in relation to the SABC matter.

In both legal wrangles, the judgments went in Milenkovic’s favour and the court ordered BSA to pay the costs.

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