By Thys Khiba
Johannesburg – The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) announced that it has been denied the opportunity to broadcast the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League final between the South African Kaizer Chiefs and Egyptian Al Ahly to Chiefs supporters and football lovers in South Africa.
“This is a very sad day for Kaizer Chiefs fans and all football lovers in South Africa when CAF, the custodian of the people’s game on the African continent, agrees to exclude millions of people who cannot afford pay-TV,” SABC Group Executive: Corporate Affairs and Marketing, Gugu Ntuli said.
According to the SABC, it is surprising and disappointing that CAF had sold the exclusive rights to broadcast the final to the pay-TV broadcaster, Supersport. The South African state owned enterprise said the agreement between CAF and Supersport is wrong as, they claim that it places this showpiece of African club football behind a pay-wall, effectively denying millions of South African football fans the opportunity to watch the game.
“Despite the SABC meeting CAF’s asking price for the free-to-air rights, the offer was rejected on the basis that CAF has signed an exclusive deal with Supersport that covers all rights, including the free-to-air rights, for this match.
The public broadcaster therefore engaged in good faith negotiations with CAF but for some reason CAF withheld information about their exclusive deal with the pay-TV broadcaster until yesterday. ” Ntuli said.
The South African opposition political party, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) reacted by saying that the denial of the SABC to broadcast the CAF Champions League final is made worse by the fact that the SABC met all commercial terms to air the game.
The EFF condemned the CAF, ‘for ambushing’ the SABC with this information in the last minute, essentially denying millions of South Africans who do not have access to the Supersport channel from viewing a historic football match.
“It is clear that Motsepe’s regime will bring no substantial change to the broadcasting space of footballing competitions in Africa and the content is going to continue to be at the mercy of France and capital in the entertainment industry,” EFF Spokesperson, Vuyani Pambo.
South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs will face Egypt’s al Ahly in the 2020-21 CAF Champions League final on Saturday, 17 July 2021 at Complexe Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca, Morocco. The match is scheduled to kick-off at 19:00 GMT.
Meanwhile, CAF announced that it has received the Final Investigation Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC Final Report”).
The PwC Final Report is expected to be discussed at the CAF Executive Committee (“EXCO”) meeting on Friday 16 July 2021 in Rabat, Morocco.
“The PwC Interim Report which was circulated to the CAF Member Associations in May 2021, identified certain irregular, unethical and improper transactions and conduct. As stated previously, the new Leadership of CAF is committed to ensuring that CAF implements and adheres to governance, auditing, ethics, financial and management global best practices.”
At the time of publishing this article, Free State Central News couldn’t a view from the CAF regarding their final engagements with the SABC. @fscentralnews
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