Safa's coffers drying up as impasse with SABC continues

Impasse with SABC plunges organisation into a crisis

25 November 2018 - 00:07 By MNINAWA NTLOKO


The South African Football Association (Safa) will announce a R17, 8-million loss for the financial year ended June 30 at its annual general meeting at the Sandton Convention Centre on Saturday.
Sunday Times can reveal that the cash-strapped SABC has been fingered as the reason for the sport body's plunge into the red.
The two organisations have been locked in a bitter standoff for months over the fee for Bafana Bafana and other national team broadcasting rights and acting Safa CEO Russell Paul said they are sinking deeper with each passing day of the impasse.
Safa's financial woes paint a worrying picture of the SA sports landscape as SA Rugby reported a net loss of R33m in 2017 and Cricket SA has projected a R654m loss in their next four-year financial cycle.
Paul, expected to succeed Dennis Mumble as CEO in the coming days, said Safa's coffers are drying up as they have not had any revenue since their broadcast agreement with the SABC expired in April.
"The SABC contract ended on April 30. We should have been getting an average of R9m a month from the SABC," he said.
"Therefore this loss is a clear reflection of the SABC's desire not to enter into a new contract (with Safa)."
At the centre of the impasse is Safa's rejection of a R10m offer from the SABC and the football body is sticking to its demand of R110m annually for the broadcast rights to all the SA national teams.
Paul said had they signed a new contract with the SABC they would have broken even and possibly posted a small profit.
"By the time we get to the congress, we will have incurred a further loss of R45,8m (over and above the R17,8m). Every month that goes by, it increases."
Indicative of the deteriorating relationship between the two parties, the SABC fired their own salvo yesterday afternoon and labelled Safa "disingenuous".
"The SABC notes Safa's disingenuous comments that its financial woes are as a result of the SABC's failure to renew the contract for the broadcast of the national teams matches," said SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu.
"The SABC would like to place on record that it made a commercially viable offer to Safa that would enable the SABC to deliver football matches to South African audiences on SABC platforms.
"This offer was rejected by Safa following the expiry of the previous contract between SAFA and the SABC.
"The SABC's dire financial situation is a matter of public record. One of the key contributors to the SABC's financial crisis is the unsustainable R110m per annum paid to Safa on the previous contract.
"Given the SABC's financial status, the corporation has to find commercially viable products to invest in, in order to realise returns which it will reinvest into its public service mandate content.
"The SABC will therefore only consider deals that deliver commercial value to the SABC. It is unfortunate that Safa requires the SABC to sustain its operations."
Bafana and Banyana Banyana matches have not been broadcast on the SABC's platforms in recent weeks with the exception of the away Bafana match against Seychelles last month that the SABC acquired from Caf broadcast rights holder Lagardere.
Paul admitted that they are in dire straits.
"It [the standoff] is crippling," he said. "There is zero cash flow and we are literally going from hand to mouth."
The loss of revenue could soon affect salaries at Safa House and in the regions.
"SABC funding is unencumbered finance," Paul said.
"It goes to operations, it goes to paying electricity and water, it goes to dealing with regions, LFAs. It goes to salaries, it goes to transport and logistics."

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