SABC criticises SuperSport for blocking CAF Final broadcast rights

In statement on Friday, the broadcaster said it was 'surprised and disappointed to learn yesterday (Thursday) that CAF had sold the exclusive rights to broadcast the final to the pay-TV broadcaster, SuperSport'.

Kaizer Chiefs players warm-up before a match. Picture: @KaizerChiefs/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The SABC has confirmed that it will not broadcast the CAF Champions League final between Kaizer Chiefs and Al Ahly on Saturday night.

The two teams clash in Morocco with the Glamour Boys making their first appearance in the final in what is also their debut season in the competition.

The Red Devils, led by Pitso Mosimane, are aiming for their 10th continental crown.

In statement on Friday, the broadcaster said it was “surprised and disappointed to learn yesterday (Thursday) that CAF had sold the exclusive rights to broadcast the final to the pay-TV broadcaster, SuperSport”.

“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 agreement between CAF and SuperSport is wrong as it places this showpiece of African club football behind a pay-wall, effectively denying millions of South African football fans the opportunity to watch the game”, the statement said.

Throughout the competition, the majority of games have not been broadcast on either the SABC or SuperSport with fans having to watch their favourite clubs’ matches on the respective social media pages.

The statement went on to say: “It simply cannot be in the public interest for CAF and SuperSport to contractually exclude millions of non-pay-TV subscribers from watching this game. Furthermore, it is disreputable for a pay-TV broadcaster 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.

“This is a very sad day for Kaizer Chiefs fans and all football lovers in South Africa when CAF, the custodian of the people’s game on the African continent, agrees to exclude millions of people who cannot afford pay-TV”, it said.

The match itself is set to kick off at 9 pm (SA time).

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