Did the SABC snub Fifa event at Safa House in Nasrec as part of standoff with Safa?
The SA Broadcasting Association (SABC) are adamant that they did not purposefully snub an SA Football Association (Safa) press conference this week‚ despite suspicions aired by football governing body that they did.
No SABC radio or television journalists attended the press conference on Wednesday – to announce a new office for global body Fifa at Safa House in Nasrec – while the other major television broadcasters‚ e.tv and SuperSport‚ were present.
The SABC and Safa have been at loggerheads in a protracted and at times acrimonious negotiation to renew their annual broadcast contract for Bafana Bafana‚ Banyana Banyana and other national team matches.
Safa’s acting chief executive Russell Paul said he could only speculate for the reasons SABC journalists had not attended the press conference on Wednesday.
“Ja it’s obviously very difficult for me to call it a snub or anything like that‚” Paul said on Thursday.
“I mean we did notice that there was nobody there from the SABC. They were invited and they were the only major broadcaster who were not there.
“We have [recently] spoken to the SABC about these things in general. And they were very clear that there is no instruction to snub anything from Safa.
“We obviously have to take their word for it. But they would need to account as to why the journalists were not there.”
However‚ a Safa source‚ who did not want to be named‚ said that the suspicion at the association was that SABC management had instructed a snub of the briefing.
“What upset a few of the Fifa guys was that almost all the broadcasters were there to cover this groundbreaking event. It’s one of only two offices on the continent for Fifa‚” the source said.
“And while the other broadcasters were there‚ the SABC was noticeable by its absence.
“It looks like it was a directive from above‚ and this smacks of pettiness.”
The SABC’s communications department‚ in an email‚ responded that the public broadcaster had not received an invitation to attend the press conference.
“The SABC did not receive a media alert or invitation to the media conference referred to in the enquiry‚” the SABC’s statement read.
“As the country’s public broadcaster the SABC takes events relating to sports of national interest seriously and we would therefore not intentionally or otherwise snub and/or ignore invitations to Safa’s events.
“To demonstrate the SABC’s commitment to the coverage of Safa‚ SABC News will be covering the Safa Congress taking place this weekend [at Safa House] and we have a crew in Ghana covering Banyana Banyana’s exploits at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations on a daily basis for both radio and television.”
Safa’s communications manager Dominic Chimhavi said that the association’s usual group email inviting all journalists to their press conferences was sent out for the briefing on Monday.