ANC Youth League makes U-turn on PSL-SuperSport television deal

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) came out in support of the PSL-SuperSport deal and called for the head of SABC boss, Dali Mpofu.

This is a dramatic turn-about by the ANCYL after earlier criticising the deal, saying millions of viewers would be denied live soccer coverage should the SABC lose the TV rights.

The ANCYL backing of the deal yesterday is the latest surprise from such an influential body. It comes at a time when the SABC is still reeling from the shock and embarrassment of losing local soccer broadcast rights to SuperSport, a pay-TV channel.

The ANCYL made the call yesterday together with the Young Communist League after a meeting with the PSL in which they were given a detailed explanation of the contract.

This latest support for the PSL follows that of Bantu Holomisa, leader of the UDM, who last week also slammed the SABC over the deal.

The South African Players Union (Sapu) is also thought to support the PSL-SuperSport deal.

Both the ANCYL and the communist youth accused SABC management of attempting to hide their own incompetence by firing top sport presenter Robert Marawa.

Marawa became the first known victim of this raging TV rights dispute after he was fired by the SABC on the grounds that there was a conflict of interests. Marawa had invited the PSL and SuperSport boss Imtiaz Patel to use a SABC-owned radio station to defend the deal.

At the time, Marawa was working for both SuperSport and SABC's Metro FM radio.

The youth organisations said yesterday Mpofu had "misled the public".

ANCYL president Fikile Mbalula said the deal between PSL and SuperSport would benefit both football and players.

"The deal has been signed and it is up to the SABC to negotiate rights for certain games and desist from swaying people from the reality of the situation.

"The SABC has been misleading the public about the deal. The PSL has assured us that the public will be able to watch matches on television," said Mbalula.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said the parties agreed to meet again next week.

"I cannot comment on whether the deal could be reversed or not, and I will not comment on utterances of the ANCYL and YCL," he said.