TV blackout for Bafana
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images).jpg
Johannesburg - Unless there is a drastic late decision made on the eve of the match, South Africans will not be able to watch Bafana Bafana play Niger in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Niamey on Sunday.
When Bafana boarded a chartered flight destined for the West African state on Friday afternoon, the SA Broadcast Corporation (SABC) had still not moved from a statement released on Thursday, in which they announced that they could not reach an agreement with broadcast rights holders Sport Five.
Sport Five, the broadcast rights holder, demanded R5 million from the SABC to show the game -- a figure that was deemed too high and above the market rate by the national broadcaster.
"Unfortunately nothing has changed, it is still the same situation as yesterday," said SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago.
This will be the second blackout in Bafana's qualification campaign, with the side's 0-0 draw against Sierra Leone also not shown in October.
Sport Five, a French-based company, is the marketing and media rights holder of matches organised by the Confederation of African Football, the continental soccer body.
It's also impossible for the national broadcaster to enter into any sort of negotiations with a local broadcaster in Niger in order to obtain a feed.
"In previous times we would have been able to obtain feed but it doesn't work that way anymore because all rights belong to Sport Five," Kganyago said.
Sport Five vice-president Iddriss Akki told The Star newspaper the company was not willing to negotiate the fee on the eve of the match, but was confident it would "do a deal with a South African broadcaster".
Pay television broadcaster SuperSport said it would not enter the fray at the 11th hour.
"We have not even tried, with all respect to SABC, being the rights holders for Bafana matches," said Brandon Foot, the head of SuperSport's legal and acquisitions department.