The impasse between local football organizations and the public broadcaster reached a low point on Friday when the Premier League issued a statement that starting with the Telkom final between Orlando Pirates and Baroka FC at Mbombela on Saturday and going forward, there will not be radio coverage of the event until further notice.
The SABC and SA Football Association has been at loggerheads over the broadcast rights of the national senior men team (Bafana Bafana), senior women team (Banyana Banyana) as well as all other national properties with SAFA refusing to allow the SABC to broadcast their events until the public broadcaster paid a certain amount.
SAFA is demanding R110-m, which was the fee allegedly agreed and which expired during 2017, but the SABC have reportedly offered SAFA R10-0m, an amount that has been rejected outright by the footballing organization as insulting.
On Friday, the National Soccer League issued a statement that regrets to announce that the Telkom Knockout Cup Final between Baroka FC and Orlando Pirates this weekend and all subsequent matches under the auspices of the League will not enjoy radio coverage by the South African Broadcasting Corporation until further notice.
“The League is aware of the huge public interest in professional football in the country and that most South Africans follow matches on radio,” reads the statement.
“Cognisant of that fact and also of the position that the SABC finds itself, every effort has been made to act responsibly and with restraint despite the way in which the SABC has seen fit to deal with the League.
“Sadly, these efforts have not been reciprocated. On the 6th of August 2018 when the SABC suddenly contended that no agreement was in place with the League, representatives of the League met with the SABC and the Ministers of Communication and of Sport and Recreation.
“While the SABC continued to misrepresent the facts at this meeting an interim arrangement was agreed to afford the parties time to discuss whatever issues there were.
“The SABC did not comply even with the express undertakings given at this meeting on an interim basis. They simply continued to broadcast matches without meeting the obligations they had undertaken.
“Yesterday, at the offices of the League, the SABC first contended that there was no agreement in place with the League. They said this despite the fact that the SABC has been covering professional football matches from August 2017 to date and would have no basis for doing so without agreement with the League.
“When the untenability of this position was pointed out to the SABC they backtracked and finally undertook to deliver to the League, this morning, a written agreement on the terms and conditions that the League knows have governed the parties relationship from 2012.
“Unfortunately no such agreement has been provided. The League has consequently been left with no option but to inform the SABC, the relevant Ministers, sponsors, and all football stakeholders, that the SABC cannot continue radio coverage at any match under the auspices of the League.
“We apologise to all football lovers in the country and ask for understanding and support.”