Soccer fans lose out again amid blackout

Image: 123RF/ MTSARIDE

The cash-strapped SABC will not televise the opening round of Absa Premiership matches this weekend.

SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu confirmed yesterday that the public broadcaster had failed to reach an agreement with rights holders SuperSport to broadcast the matches.

"There is no agreement and we are not showing the matches this weekend," she said, without providing any details.

It is not clear how long the blackout will continue as the PSL programme continues on Tuesday when Bidvest Wits host Baroka in Johannesburg and Highlands Park visit Maritzburg United in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.

This unfortunate turn of events, where the SABC has failed to secure the rights from SuperSport, left millions of South Africans who don't have access to pay television unable to watch the country's most popular sport.

The PSL season started yesterday with the anticipated headline match-up between Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United, also known in football circles as the Tshwane derby, at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.

This is not the first time the SABC has disappointed as they failed to televise this year's Two Oceans Marathon and a last-minute deal was later struck to televise the world-renowned Comrades Marathon after intervention from former sports minister Tokozile Xasa.

Earlier this year, it also failed to televise some of Bafana Bafana's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, as they could not agree on the valuation of the rights with the South African Football Association.

As things stand, there is no deal in place between the public broadcaster and Safa ahead of Bafana's qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon and the 2022 Qatar World Cup in the coming months.

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