SABC radio coverage blacked out for Telkom Knockout final

07 December 2018 - 17:17 By Marc Strydom
Baroka fans during the Telkom Knockout semifinal between Baroka FC and Bidvest Wits at Peter Mokaba Stadium on November 25 2018 in Polokwane, South Africa.
Baroka fans during the Telkom Knockout semifinal between Baroka FC and Bidvest Wits at Peter Mokaba Stadium on November 25 2018 in Polokwane, South Africa.
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

There will be no South Africa Broadcasting Corporation radio coverage of Saturday’s Telkom Knockout final between Orlando Pirates and Baroka FC as negotiations on their agreement with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) broke down this week.

The PSL said in a statement released late on Friday afternoon that SABC radio coverage for all PSL matches has been suspended.

This is the second time SABC radio rights for PSL matches have been suspended. The previous time‚ in August‚ the ban was lifted after the intervention of Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa.

The PSL’s statement read: “The National Soccer League [the body that oversees the Premier Soccer League and National First Division] regrets to announce that the Telkom Knockout Cup Final between Baroka FC and Orlando Pirates this weekend and all matches under the auspices of the League will not enjoy radio coverage by the South African Broadcasting Corporation until further notice.

“The League is aware of the huge public interest in professional football in the country and that most South Africans follow matches on radio.

“Cognisant of that fact and also of the position that the SABC finds itself‚ every effort has been made to act responsibly and with restraint despite the way in which the SABC has seen fit to deal with the League. Sadly‚ these efforts have not been reciprocated.

“On the 6th of August 2018 when the SABC suddenly contended that no agreement was in place with the League‚ representatives of the League met with the SABC and the Ministers of Communication and of Sport and Recreation.

“While the SABC continued to misrepresent the facts at this meeting an interim arrangement was agreed to afford the parties time to discuss whatever issues there were.

“The SABC did not comply even with the express undertakings given at this meeting on an interim basis. They simply continued to broadcast matches without meeting the obligations they had undertaken.

“Yesterday‚ at the offices of the League‚ the SABC first contended that there was no agreement in place with the League.

“They said this despite the fact that the SABC has been covering professional football matches from August 2017 to date and would have no basis for doing so without agreement with the League.

“When the untenability (sic) of this position was pointed out to the SABC they backtracked and finally undertook to deliver to the League‚ this morning‚ a written agreement on the terms and conditions that the League knows have governed the parties relationship from 2012.

The SABC and PSL apparently met in a meeting‚ which dragged on for a few hours‚ regarding coverage of the final on Thursday.

The SABC responded with a statement apologising for the PSL matches they would not broadcast on radio.

“The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) would like to apologise to the millions of football loving fans, as the SABC will not be broadcasting PSL matches on SABC radio platforms,” the statement read.

“At this stage, PSL matches will only be broadcast on television channel SABC 1.

“The SABC will continue engaging with the PSL in order to find an amicable solution to bringing PSL matches on SABC radio.”

The cash-strapped SABC’s negotiations with the South African Football Association (Safa) to renew their annual contract for covering Bafana Bafana matches had recently broken down, and are currently still not resolved.