SABC's EPL rights may spell the end for Bafana Bafana matches

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As things stand, Bafana matches will not be televised on the SABC, while the public broadcaster will be airing Premier League matches on Saturdays

The South African Football Association (Safa) has taken a dig at the SABC's decision to broadcast English Premier League matches despite their failure to strike a deal for Bafana Bafana matches. 

On Tuesday, the SABC announced that it will broadcast live one EPL match every Saturday on SABC 3, starting with the London Derby between Arsenal and West Ham United this weekend. 

The SABC will also air a Premier League Review show on Tuesdays, highlights and post-match interviews of all the wekeend's matches, leaving football fans across the country with more questions than answers .  

Just this week, the public broadcaster told parliament that it was facing fancincial difficulties which make it impossible to meet certain obligations. 

According to SABC chairman Bongumusa Makhathini, projections are that the public broadcaster will only have R26 million in the bank at the August while it still owes its creditors a whopping R694 million. 

Despite sub-licencing the rights from Kwese Sports, a section of fans believe the SABC should be prioritizing local football and matches in involving South African national teams to Premier League football.

However, Nono Momodu, the newly appointed spokesperson for the SABC, defended the move, saying broadcasting live Premier League matches will enable the public broadcaster to attract more audience and generate revenue. 

Momodu added that they also needed to remain competitive in the market. 

"From an integrity point of view‚ I can assure you that whatever that has been entered into with Kwesé is in line with corporate governance and also bearing in mind the dire financial situation we find ourselves in," Momodu told reporters. 

"We need to remain competitive and therefore bring programming that will enable us to attract audiences and offers services to the SA public, one that they actually deserve. As you know the EPL you either have to subscribe to certain device to access it and if you cant afford it then you wont be able to watch it. So as the public broadcaster we’re going out of our way to make sure that all South Africans got access to this programming.," she said.  

SABC TV channels general manager David Makubyane said they will use the Premier League's strong brand to increase the number of viewers on SABC 3.  

"The Premier League has a strong brand equity that we believe will contribute towards the building of the SABC 3 brand," he said. 

SABC's decision to splash money on this Premier League deal hasn't gone down well with Safa, and the association took to Twitter to hit out at the public broadcaster. 

Bafana took broke screenshot

The tweet has since been deleted, perhaps because there's still hope that two parties would come to an agreement before Bafana's match against Libya in Durban in early September.

The SABC and Safa are still negotiating a new deal for Bafana Bafana matches to be shown live on the public broadcaster. The previous deal expired in April this year. 

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Reports suggest that the SABC paid Safa R10 million a month in rights fees from the previous deal, but the public broadcaster has not done so for several months as the bill is currently sitting on R50 million. 

The SABC reportedly wants the amount to be reduced significantly before they can enter into another partnership with Safa for the rights to broadcast Bafana Bafana matches.  

Earlier this month, two South African government departments - Communications and Sport Ministry - intervened after the SABC announced that it had failed to reach an agreement with the PSL over broadcasting local matches on its radio stations.

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