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Marathon trust wants people's race on SABC

But athletics body's contract means SuperSport holds the rights

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
The launch of the 2023 edition of the 'People's Race' is scheduled for Tuesday.
The launch of the 2023 edition of the 'People's Race' is scheduled for Tuesday.
Image: Fani Mahuntsi

Athletic SA (ASA) president James Moloi has told the Soweto Marathon Trust (SMT), which appears to be in  favour of the race televised on SABC instead of SuperSport, to speak with one voice with Central Gauteng Athletic (CGA) in order for their grievance to be heard.

Last year’s Soweto Marathon wasn’t televised as SMT prevented SuperSport from broadcasting it. In March last year, SuperSport and ASA signed a four-year TV rights deal. Despite this, many, including SMT, feel showing the event dubbed “the people’s race” only on pay-TV channel, instead of a free-to-air one, wasn’t aligned with what the marathon stands for.

“The Soweto Marathon must call the province [CGA] and say, ‘we’ve got this community outcry that the race must be on free-to-air TV’. They can’t come to us alone because they are affiliated to CGA. There, we’ll sit down and listen and move together to SuperSport to see what can be done,” Moloi told reporters on the sidelines of a media conference to unveil African Bank as the new sponsor for Soweto Marathon, at Orlando East’s Sakhumzi Restaurant, on Wednesday.

One SMT member has anonymously told Sowetan that ASA should let them decide who they want to televise their race.

“The Soweto Marathon is the people’s race, so why can’t people watch it for free on TV? ASA should allow us to get our own broadcaster to make sure the community is happy,” said the unhappy member, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of victimisation.

Moloi emphasised that even athletics clubs can’t negotiate for TV rights deals without ASA, making the example of professional football clubs, who abide by the Premier Soccer League’s (PSL’s) decisions in such matters.

“I’ll give you an example with Safa, the people who negotiate the broadcasting rights is Safa [in fact it’s the PSL] not Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates. If Safa has signed a deal with DStv or whoever it may be, it goes down to the clubs but Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates can’t go to TV channels and negotiate for TV rights,” Moloi explained.

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