PSL games won't be broadcast on SABC. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG The Premier Soccer League on Saturday confirmed that no Premiership matches will be aired on the national broadcaster the SA Broadcasting Corporation over the opening weekend of the season. 

It means SABC will not broadcast any of the matches on television or radio. A full round of SA Premiership matches are scheduled for this weekend, starting at 3pm on Saturday.

The PSL released the following statement on the matter:

The PSL regrets that the South African followers of the beautiful game will, as a result of matters beyond its immediate control, not find the PSL football matches on the free to air television and radio channels of the SABC.

This was brought to the PSL’s attention on Friday by SuperSport, the broadcast rights holder. Up until the beginning of this week we were made to believe the final bits were being ironed out towards yet another exciting season that the majority consume on free to air television provided by the SABC.

In hindsight, we should have made more of the question by an SABC journalist after the Board of Governors meeting two days ago, on Thursday, when he revealed that there was no scheduling of weekend matches to be broadcast by the SABC. Knowing what we know now, it is evident that the SABC had already prepared for a “blackout”.

According to SuperSport, the SABC proposal is tantamount to discounting the PSL rights by 96 percent. This would be unacceptable.

Upon receiving a letter from SuperSport about the situation the Chairman of the PSL, Irvin Khoza immediately wrote an urgent letter to the Ministers of Communication and Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture. In the letters he stated to the ministers that the challenges being faced have legal, public and political implications.

In addressing this matter, it is maybe time that the nation accept that the SABC is incapable of meeting its requirements since a “blackout” to the majority who consume their football through free to air television and radio is unacceptable going forward.

The PSL will provide regular updates to the public as a solution is sought to address this unfortunate situation.

African News Agency (ANA)