/ 5 October 2011

Safa, SABC reach broadcast agreement

The South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) will pay R3-million to televise Saturday’s crucial Africa Cup of Nations soccer qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Sierra Leone in Nelspruit.

“We are happy that we found an agreement of rights regarding Saturday’s match,” South Africa Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani said on Wednesday.

“I can confirm that this important match will be broadcast for all South Africans to see.”

Safa and the SABC had met with the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) French-based broadcast and marketing rights holder, SportFive, to clinch a deal regarded as “reasonable” by SABC group chairperson Ben Ngubane.

From the R3-million given to Safa by the SABC, R1.8-million would go to SportFive’s coffers for the game rights, while the remaining R1.2-million would cover the match’s production costs.

The SABC and SportFive were at loggerheads in September, leading to the non-broadcast of Bafana’s away match to Niger, because of the R5-million the rights holder demanded for the fixture. The amount was deemed too high by the SABC for a single game.

Waiting for a deal
Meanwhile, Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula met with Safa and the SABC to discuss broadcasting issues relating to Bafana’s friendly matches played on local soil.

A new long-term contract between the two bodies was expected to be finalised soon, with negotiations starting next week.

The previous contract between Safa and the SABC expired at the end of March, and the rights were being negotiated on a match-by-match basis.

“We can take this match as the base of the current talks we have had with the SABC regarding friendly matches that are played on home soil,” Safa chief executive Robin Petersen said.

“We own the full rights of friendly matches in South Africa, and hope that the deal will be concluded soon.”

‘Solidifying’ ideas
Mbalula praised the breakthrough and common ground reached between Safa and the national broadcaster.

“Safa and the SABC have found each other and are able to ensure that all future Bafana matches are televised,” Mbalula said.

“We did not pay anything. What we did was facilitate a round table talk to solidify our thinking on the issue.”

Both parties, however, still had to negotiate with SportFive regarding Caf matches and friendly games outside South Africa.

Safa is expected to form a part of the negotiations team whenever SABC has to meet SportFive in future. — Sapa