Stuart Baxter and players on the practice field ahead of the match against Seychelles. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – The SABC say they “remain committed to engaging Safa on fair terms”, but added that it was unfortunate that a legal dispute is in the public domain with regards to broadcasting national football team matches.

The SA Football Association (Safa) issued a strong-worded statement earlier on Thursday, stating that “as things stand”, the SABC won’t be allowed to broadcast Bafana Bafana’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles at the FNB Stadium on Saturday (3pm kickoff).

Safa feel that the public broadcaster made a “discourteous offer” to broadcast games involving Bafana, Banyana Banyana and other age-group teams and national competitions.

The national governing body was upset by the fact that while the SABC had told them that “it is in no position to conclude a contract/contracts whilst it is in a financial state of disarray”, the SABC had still finalised deals to broadcast an English Premier League game on a Saturday, as well as signing on as the broadcast partner with Cricket South Africa for the new T20 league.

“However, it is now patently clear that the SABC actions over the past few weeks in signing deals with EPL and CSA (Cricket South Africa) is calculated towards engineering the financial downfall of Safa, which the Association will not stand for,” Safa said.

They added that they were going to write a letter to the Sports and Communications Ministries to “relieve the SABC of its obligations towards sports of national interest (football in particular)” and engage with another broadcaster.

But with less than 48 hours to kickoff at the FNB Stadium, it remains unclear if there will be a “black-out” on the SABC platforms.

The SABC insisted in their statement on Thursday night that they had made a “commercially viable offer” to Safa to broadcast national team matches, which was rejected.

“On the previous contract, there were obligations and milestones which the SABC has met, including the payment milestones of that contract, albeit late, given the SABC’s dire financial situation. In this regard, the SABC made full and final payment on the agreement as agreed with Safa,” the SABC said.

“The outstanding Safa obligations due to SABC from the previous contract are the two remaining 2019 Afcon qualifier matches which are, the Bafana Bafana vs Seychelles match on 13 October 2018, and the Bafana Bafana vs Nigeria match on 17 November 2018.”

Stuart Baxter says he has attempted to limit changes to his squad ahead of the match against the Seychelles. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
Stuart Baxter says he has attempted to limit changes to his squad ahead of the match against the Seychelles. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

One thing that is clear is that the SABC will broadcast the away match against  Seychelles  next Tuesday (2.30pm SA time), with the broadcaster stating that it “will be broadcast by the SABC since these rights do not reside with Safa”.

“The SABC’s financial position is a known fact and has been made public by the SABC. Despite this, the SABC has ensured that it met all its financial obligations to Safa.

“The SABC is therefore prepared to broadcast the two remaining 2019 Afcon qualifiers.

“It is unfortunate that the SABC and Safa legal dispute is in the public domain, but the SABC remains committed to engaging Safa on fair terms.”

 

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