SABC and Siyaya in stand-off over SAFA TV rights

28 May 2015 | Clubs & Rightsholders
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has claimed to have agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the South African Football Association (SAFA) to show local matches involving the South African men’s, women’s, and junior football teams.

However, pay-TV newcomer Siyaya TV is contesting the state broadcaster’s claim, stating that the R1-billion (US$93.67 million), six-year deal it signed in August last year gives it the rights to all national games in the country.

Siyaya has threatened to sue the SABC if it airs the Olympic qualifying game between the South African national women’s team and Gabon on Sunday evening.

Siyaya is a newly founded station and has not yet begun airing. It is set to go live in October. At the time of signing the deal last year, Siyaya was reported as having said it would work with other broadcasters to provide South African national team games on free-to-air television. However, the SABC have signed this deal with the SAFA, and no consultation appears to have taken place with Siyaya, leading to the current stand-off.

South African newspaper Business Day reports Siyaya founder Aubrey Tau as calling the SABC “reckless” in its actions, while SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago claims that his company have “not broken any contract with [Siyaya].”

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