PSL matches face possible SABC blackout

02 August 2019 - 10:52 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
A file photo of SABC Outside Broadcast vans parked in the Peter Mokaba Stadium precinct in Polokwane.
A file photo of SABC Outside Broadcast vans parked in the Peter Mokaba Stadium precinct in Polokwane.
Image: BackpagePix

Less than 48 hours before the start of the anticipated domestic football season‚ the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) are yet to confirm whether they have secured the rights to broadcast the upcoming Absa Premiership.

Failure for the SABC to secure the rights from pay-channel SuperSport will leave millions of South Africans‚ who don’t have access pay television‚ not being able to watch the country's most popular sport on TV when the season starts on Saturday.

There is also no clarity on whether the public broadcaster have managed to secure the radio rights with the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

At the time of publishing the story‚ SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu did not answer her mobile phone on Friday morning to give clarity on negotiations and SuperSport were yet to respond to questions that were sent to them.

On Thursday‚ PSL chairman Irvin Khoza said as far as he was concerned things were normal and the league did not know anything about the negotiations between the SABC and SuperSport.

“Things are normal at the moment unless you know something that we don’t know‚” said Khoza.

“We know nothing at the moment as the PSL. The rights are with SuperSport and they are the ones who are licensing SABC. We didn’t get any report up till now‚ unless there is something you know.”

An employee of SABC Sport‚ who did not want to be named‚ confirmed to TimesLIVE on Friday morning that a schedule for the weekend has not been circulated among staff as per normal and no one knows if they will be working this weekend or not.

Even on the SABC 1 website‚ there is no PSL match that has been scheduled for the Saturday where round of fixtures are headlined by the Tshwane Derby between Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.

The time slot between 2.30pm and 5.30pm merely states: “To be announced”.

In April‚ the cash-strapped SABC failed to televise the premier Two Oceans Marathon and a last-minute deal was later struck to televise the world-renowned Comrades Marathon after intervention from former Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa.

Earlier this year‚ the SABC failed to televise some of Bafana Bafana’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers‚ as they could not agree on the valuation of the rights with the South African Football Association (Safa).

As things stands‚ there is no deal in place between SABC and Safa ahead of Bafana embarking on qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2022 Qatar World Cup in the coming months.