CAPE TOWN – The SA Football Association and the SABC are again at loggerheads about broadcasting Bafana Bafana’s upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Seychelles.
Stuart Baxter’s team will take on the island nation at FNB Stadium on Saturday (3pm kickoff), with the away game in Seychelles next week Tuesday (2.30pm SA time).
But the majority of Bafana fans won’t be able to watch their team on the telly... for the moment.
Safa sent out a lengthy press release on Thursday afternoon to explain their long-running impasse with the public broadcaster.
“The South African Football Association (Safa) wishes to announce that as matters stand, the upcoming Afcon matches for Bafana Bafana, as well as international matches for Banyana Banyana will not be broadcast on any of the SABC platforms.
“The immediate matches in question are: Bafana Bafana vs Seychelles, Seychelles vs Bafana Bafana, as well as the Bafana Bafana vs Nigeria (in November).”
Safa went on to say that the SABC had made a “discourteous offer” to broadcast international matches, which was rejected by the football governing body.
“It is interesting to note that even the apartheid-run SABC of old made a better offer to the Association for their rights in this country,” Safa added.
At the heart of Safa’s gripe is that the SABC have been broadcasting one English Premier League games on Saturdays, as well as concluding a deal for the new SA T20 cricket tournament.
“Safa has been repeatedly told by SABC management that it is in no position to conclude a contract/contracts whilst it is in a financial state of disarray.
“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 allowed SABC to broadcast the previous Afcon qualifier against Libya in Durban without a contract being in place.
Now they have resorted to writing to the SABC, Icasa and the Ministries of Sport and Communications to request a “letter that will relieve the SABC of its obligations towards sports of national interest (football in particular)” so that Safa can come to an agreement with another broadcaster.
Safa went on to say that the current stalemate will mean that all upcoming national team fixtures for Bafana and Banyana, such as Afcon and World Cup qualifiers, won’t be broadcast on SABC platforms.
* IOL Sport have requested comment from the SABC, and are awaiting a response.@ashfakmohamed