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Cricket SA and SABC still in the dark on England tour TV coverage

15 October 2020 - 12:04 By Tiisetso Malepa
Cricket South Africa acting CEO Kugandrie Govender is confident a deal will be in place in time for the England tour.
Cricket South Africa acting CEO Kugandrie Govender is confident a deal will be in place in time for the England tour.
Image: Bertram Malgas/Gallo Images

Following almost nine months of inactivity due to Covid-19‚ millions of cricket-starved fans could be left stranded and unable to watch the Proteas on their screens because Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the free-to-air SABC have no contract in place.

World Cup-winners England are scheduled to arrive in the country in the coming weeks‚ pending a government approval‚ for a limited-overs series next month.

The millions of cricket-mad households who will be waiting for the public broadcaster to televise the three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches live on its SABC3 channel and radio stations‚ as has been custom whenever the Proteas play in the country‚ have cause for great concern.

But acting CSA CEO Kugandrie Govender assured there is no need for concern and said she is confident the embattled cricket body and the perennially cash-strapped SABC will soon put pen to paper in time for the England series.

“Negotiations are underway to sign a new contract based on the revised FTP‚” said Govender.

“The public have no reason to be concerned. It is just a matter of us and the SABC signing the documents and we are confident we will do that well in time for the England series.

“Both organisations [CSA and SABC] have rigorous procurement and approval processes and we hope to conclude as soon as possible.”

The SABC also confirmed there is not contract in place and said negotiations are continuing‚ but did not commit to any timeframe.

“The SABC can confirm that the Corporation is currently in the process of renegotiating new contracts with CSA‚ now that the fixtures for the rest of the year‚ and 2021 have been released for local and international games‚” the public broadcaster told TimesLIVE in a statement.

“The SABC is in the process of renegotiating new contracts and will not commit to a date when renegotiations will conclude as this is a process. The previous contract has come to its natural end”.

The SABC’s contract with CSA ended at the end of the last season and the two organisations are still locked in negotiations to sign a new agreement with the England tour looming large.

The tour of England will start with a 10 days’ quarantine at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town from November 17.

Four matches will be played at Newlands Stadium with the other two games set for Paarl.

But the tour could be in jeopardy following Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s warning to CSA to get their house in order.

Mthethwa has given the troubled cricket organisation a deadline of October 27 to send written representations if they wish to do so on why the government should not intervene in their affairs.