Johannesburg - The South African Football Association has finally sought to put
more value on brand Bafana Bafana by demanding R1bn from the
public broadcaster for the rights to host the national team's matches.
The SABC are currently coughing up a meagre R150m to exclusively screen Pitso Mosimane's men in action, according to The Times - and SAFA still subsidises around R700 000 worth of production costs for every televised encounter.
The price hike is the latest in a series of friction between both
parties, which came to the fore when the broadcaster failed to air an
African Nations Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone in October last year.
The SABC revealed its equipment was grounded in Freetown and thus they could not air the crucial fixture.
SAFA raised another concern a week ago when they frowned at the "preferential treatment given to cricket."
The body's CEO Leslie Sedibe was shocked to find the SABC could
alter its schedule to fit in one-day internationals or Test matches, but
complained whenever Bafana games were requested to be moved to an
earlier time slot.
"I was shocked by the preferential treatment given to cricket," Sedibe said at the time.
"I went home at 19:00 last night to watch the news live [on SABC3] and saw the Proteas versus India one-day cricket match instead.
"We were told by the SABC our matches could not be moved from 20:30 to a more suitable 19:00 kick-off because of news and other
programming scheduled, and yet the SABC can replace its entire schedule
for a day-night cricket match," he said.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago is hoping both parties can reach a
mutual understanding by the end of March as weekly negotiations
"Our target is March 31 and we hope everything will have been finalised," he said.
"There is no animosity between us and SAFA as reported in the media and we are confident that we will renew our contract.
"I cannot divulge more because the negotiations are still ongoing but everything is going very well."
The SABC can ill-afford to lose the rights to Bafana games after SuperSport beat them to the broadcasting of PSL matches.
The pay channel may choose not to splash the cash for national
team games, but e.tv are waiting in the wings if the SABC scores another