EDITOR'S VIEW - The SABC has a clear mandate as a public broadcaster: to ensure that poor people who cannot afford pay TV have access to their programmes, including Premier Soccer League (PSL) and Bafana Bafana matches.

However, this is a mandate the cash-strapped SABC is finding difficult to fulfill.

Thousands of soccer lovers were left disappointed yesterday when it was announced that Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana matches would not be broadcast by the SABC.

This came a few days after another shocking announcement by the public broadcaster, that it would not be broadcasting PSL matches on its radio stations because of a contractual dispute with the league.

While we sympathise with the SABC, the real victims here are the millions of poor, soccer-mad black people in the country’s townships and rural areas who rely on the public broadcaster for their favourite sport.

It is also very odd that the only sporting code that is paying the price of the SABC’s mismanagement is soccer, while rugby and cricket remain unaffected.

How does the SABC explain the fact that it still owes the South African Football Association (Safa) about R50million from the previous agreement that ended in April.

We agree with sentiments expressed by Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble that the SABC has displayed an indifferent attitude towards football.

“We have been negotiating since January of this year and we have not got anywhere because there is no appetite for football on the SABC. That is my impression,” said Mumble.

It would really be a sad day when a national broadcaster was unable to broadcast national soccer matches because of years of corruption, inefficiency and mismanagement at the institution.

The Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa needs to acts swiftly by bringing the SABC, Safa and the PSL under one roof.

Safa needs the money to invest in the development of soccer at amateur level, while the PSL is also in desperate need of cash to remain attractive and to ensure that its 16 clubs are able to pay their players competitive salaries.

This stalemate is not good for local soccer and the development of the game at grassroots level.

The Mercury