Champions League Trophy. Photo: BackpagePix
Champions League Trophy. Photo: BackpagePix

SABC won't screen Champions League final, no free-to-air viewing for local fans

By Herman Gibbs Time of article published Jul 16, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Friday morning announced it cannot broadcast Saturday’s CAF Champions League final between Kaizer Chiefs and Al Ahly, in Casablanca, Morocco (start 9pm).

On Thursday, the SABC learnt that an exclusive deal exists between the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and MultiChoice Group. As a result, the Champions League final will only be available to DStv subscribers in South Africa.

Last month the SABC announced that its free-to-air channels would broadcast the upcoming final between Chiefs and Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly live after they secured the rights. At the time, the SABC said the final would be showing on SABC 1.

ALSO READ: CAF Champions League final to be broadcast on SuperSport

Friday's morning statement, in part, reads: 'The SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) regrets to announce that it has been denied the opportunity of broadcasting the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League final between Kaizer Chiefs and Egypt‘s Al Ahly.

'The SABC was surprised and disappointed to learn yesterday [Thursday] that CAF had sold the exclusive rights to broadcast the final to the pay-TV broadcaster‚ SuperSport.

'Despite the SABC meeting CAF’s asking price for the free-to-air rights‚ the offer was rejected on the basis that CAF has signed an exclusive deal with SuperSport that covers all rights‚ including the free-to-air rights‚ for this match.

'At a time when economic exclusion is the biggest issue facing South Africa, not only does this deal between CAF and SuperSport perpetuate the divide in our society, but it shows scant regard for the issues facing our people.

'The failure of (communications regulator) Icasa’s sports rights regulations to deal with this situation means the public broadcaster has no recourse to the regulator even though broadcasting the CAF Champions League final — involving one of South Africa’s biggest clubs — is clearly part of SABC’s public mandate.'

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