Debate on whether PSL is a ‘national interest’ or ‘premium content'

Irvin Khoza says the local premier league will have to close if Icasa amends the legislation.
Irvin Khoza says the local premier league will have to close if Icasa amends the legislation.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) as we know it could cease to exist after changes to broadcast regulations were proposed that could bring the local game to an end, according to league chairperson Irvin Khoza.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has embarked on amending current legislation that will have local PSL football regarded as content of "national interest" as opposed to "premium content".

This would mean that PSL games would have to be broadcast for free on national platforms. It would also mean the selling of broadcast rights to the highest bidder would come to an end.

Last year, the league announced a new five-year deal with pay channel SuperSport, believed to be R2.2bn.

Khoza lambasted the proposed changes and warned that the league would shut down if (they were) enacted.

"If these regulations go ahead, this will mean the end of football and the PSL, so we must shut it down," Khoza said yesterday.

"We will have no choice but to close it down. If you take away the lifeblood of the PSL then it would be impossible to continue.

As the league we would be lying to you and all the football-loving masses that it can go on with such a regulation. Where will the money to pay players, officials and support staff come from? It will not be possible."

Currently, the PSL has a lucrative rights deal with SuperSport and Khoza said the public broadcaster could lose "80% of the revenue".

The league and other interested parties have until March to make their submissions to Icasa on the proposals.

"It's very painful that something we have taken so many years to build, and as we are about to hand it over to the next generation, can just dissipate in our hands," he said.

In a show of solidary at the PSL board of governors, Khoza was flanked by Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung and Mamelodi Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe.

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