'They will ruin football in SA‚' says PSL chairman Irvin Khoza to ICASA

Irvin Khoza addressing the media during the PSL Chairman Press Conference at Emperors Palace, Convention Centre on September 20, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Irvin Khoza addressing the media during the PSL Chairman Press Conference at Emperors Palace, Convention Centre on September 20, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza has warned that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's (ICASA) draft sports broadcasting services amendment regulations could destroy local football.

Khoza faced ICASA in Centurion on Wednesday and said clubs in the PSL‚ National First Division and Multichoice Diski Challenge face an uncertain future because of the proposed amendments.

“The impact of the draft does not consider the impact on the PSL and its constituent components at all.

"They will ruin football in South Africa and they will destroy the high quality content that the PSL is striving to invest in‚” said Khoza in his submission to hearing chairperson Palesa Kadi in Centurion.

Khoza echoed SA Rugby‚ Boxing SA and the South African Cricketer’s Association (SACA)‚ arguing that exclusivity generates income and it is accepted globally.

“Exclusivity enables content rights owners such as the PSL to generate income‚" he said.

"As a result‚ exclusivity is widely used across the world when selling content including non-sport and even free-to-air broadcaster SABC wants exclusivity.”

“Income is distributed to clubs‚ who invest in developing and attracting football talent through paying better salaries‚ investing in academies‚ facilities and competent football management.

"Overall‚ these investments improve the quality of the content‚ making it more attractive and generating greater viewership interest.”

He went on to stress that the immediate impact of the proposed draft regulations could erode the ability of the PSL to be sustainable in future.

“If exclusivity is removed‚ revenue will drop and a reduction in broadcast rights revenue will result in the PSL making massive losses.

"The PSL will also have to cut grants to clubs‚ which come from broadcast rights‚ and clubs will become financially unsustainable and unable to pay employees‚ including players‚” he said.

“Nowhere in the world is a football league listed and exclusive acquisition prohibited.

"Non-exclusivity will drastically reduce income earned by the PSL and this will in turn reduce income earned by clubs‚ players and other employees.

"PSL will generate lower than required to run football.”

Khoza was accompanied by Executive committee member Kaizer Motaung‚ marketing consultant Peter Mancer‚ senior counsel Schalk Burger and attorney Jean Meijer.

PSL senior counsel Burger strengthened their argument by saying that it is outside Icasa’s jurisdiction under Electronic Communication Act (ECA) to attempt to regulate the PSL as a generator and owner of content.

“Icasa’s powers to regulate broadcasting services under ECA extends only to broadcasting licensees.

"It may only regulate the terms on which these licensees may deal with sports broadcasting rights.

"It may not regulate content creators like the PSL package or sell these rights‚” said Burger.

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