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SAFA vs SABC battle takes new twist 

The war of words between the South African Football Association (SAFA) and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) took a new twist on Friday when the television station stated they still had the rights to show Bafana Bafana's final two home Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

The SABC released a statement in which they say they will broadcast Saturday's home qualifier with Seychelles and next month's fixture against Nigeria at FNB Stadium, as these fall under former contract.

They stated that they have acquired the rights to Tuesday's away clash against Seychelles from CAF partner broadcasters as well.

It follows a strongly-worded, and at times bizarre, statement from SAFA on Thursday in which they accused the SABC of making a "discourteous offer" for the rights to broadcast matches played in South Africa, adding "even the Apartheid-run SABC of old made a better offer to the association for their rights in this country".  

The statement went on to claim that the SABC's decision to buy the rights to English Premier League and Cricket South Africa Twenty20 matches in recent months "is calculated towards engineering the financial downfall of SAFA, which the association will not stand for."

But the SABC said they had made a "commercially viable offer" for the rights in their statement.

"The SABC would like to place on record that it made a commercially viable offer that would enable the SABC to deliver football matches to South African audiences on SABC platforms and this offer was rejected by SAFA," they said.

"This follows the expiry of the previous contract between SAFA and the SABC. On the previous contract there were obligations and milestones which the SABC has met, including the payment milestones of that contract, albeit late given the SABC's dire financial situation.

"In this regard, the SABC made full and final payment on the agreement as agreed with SAFA.

"The outstanding SAFA obligations due to SABC from the previous contract are the two remaining 2019 AFCON qualifier matches which are, the Bafana Bafana vs. Seychelles match on 13 October 2018 and the Bafana Bafana vs. Nigeria match on 17 November 2018.

"The Seychelles vs. Bafana Bafana match scheduled for 16 October 2018 will be broadcast by the SABC since these rights do not reside with SAFA."

It has since been revealed by acting SAFA CEO Russel Paul that the SABC offered R10-million per annum for the rights to all national team matches, male and female and in all age groups, as well as domestic competitions under SAFA's direct control.

This is well down from the R110-million per annum contract that had previously been in place for SAFA properties.

"The figure that they're quoting is less than 10 percent," Paul told Eye Witness News.

"It's mischievous, it's misleading to the public to say that they made a reasonable offer. I really cannot understand what they mean by reasonable."

Paul added that they are still open to working with the SABC over the rights issue, though he contradicts the SABC statement and says there is still money owed by the broadcaster.

"We are mindful of the fact that we owe a duty to the nation as well. So yes, we want to have the matter resolved but they (SABC) have not paid us on time," he added.

"They still owed us money beyond the end of the (last) contract and that has affected our development process dramatically from a funding perspective. We want to address the relationship but to go from R110m a year to R10m, is ridiculous."


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