The SABC will be able to broadcast the CAF Champions League final on Saturday after politicians intervened and asked MultiChoice Group to sub-license the rights to the public broadcaster.
However, the JSE-listed pay-television operator said it is “disappointed” with an SABC statement issued earlier in the day, accusing the public broadcaster of “disparaging and factually incorrect remarks made regarding MultiChoice and the rights it acquired”.
The game, between Egypt’s Al Ahly and South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs, will be played in Morocco.
“Having regard to the very sad circumstances which have played out in the country during the past week and the need for the upliftment of the public in these difficult times, the ministers of sport, arts & recreation and of communications have been in contact with MultiChoice requesting an intervention in order that the match be made available to the public on a free-to-air basis,” MultiChoice said.
“Given this intervention, MultiChoice has approached CAF, which has now kindly authorised SuperSport to sub-licence rights to the SABC,” it added. MultiChoice had acquired both the exclusive pay-TV rights and free-to-air rights to the match.
In its earlier statement, the SABC slammed the exclusive deal between CAF (the Confederation of African Football) and MultiChoice that had meant the final would only be available to pay-TV subscribers.
It said the deal was “wrong” as it “placed the showpiece of African club football behind a paywall, effectively denying millions of South African football fans the opportunity to watch the game”.
“Despite the SABC meeting CAF’s asking price for the free-to-air rights, the offer was rejected on the basis that CAF has signed an exclusive deal with SuperSport that covers all rights, including the free-to-air rights, for this match,” the public broadcaster said.
The SABC said it was “disreputable” for MultiChoice and SuperSport to acquire free-to-air rights “with the intention of blocking free-to-air broadcasters from using those rights”.
“At a time when economic exclusion is the biggest issue facing South Africa, not only does this deal between CAF and SuperSport perpetuate the divide in our society, but it shows scant regard for the issues facing our people,” the SABC said.
The SABC accused both CAF and MultiChoice of “not having the poor’s interest a heart”. — (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media