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SABC to show crucial Afcon qualifer but Safa dispute continues

South African public-service broadcaster SABC is relying on Lagardère to supply it with rights to South Africa national-team matches as its dispute with the country’s football association rumbles on.

SABC has acquired rights to today’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying match between the Seychelles and South Africa from the Lagardère agency, which holds rights to the home Afcon qualifiers of every African nation apart from South Africa.

Rights to all South Africa home matches are held by the South African Football Association (Safa) and are sold separately.

Safa says SABC will be unable to show any matches of South Africa’s men’s, women’s or youth national teams from 2018-19 onward unless it significantly improves its offer.

Russell Paul, acting chief executive of Safa, said: “To place matters in perspective, the SABC in the statement indicated to the public that they made a reasonably commercially viable offer. We fail to see how an offer of ZAR10m (€6m/$7m) [per season] for all Bafana Bafana [men’s national team], Banyana Banyana [women’s national team], U20, U23 and national competitions is a reasonable, commercially viable offer in anybody’s language.”

He continued: “Considering that for the past three years they’ve paid us ZAR110m a year, the figure that they’re offering is less than 10 per cent of that. It’s mischievous and misleading to the public to say that they made a reasonable offer. I really cannot understand what they mean by reasonable.”

Chris Maroleng, chief operations officer at SABC, said: “I am cautiously optimistic that we will find each other because we are both mandated by public interest to bring football to most rural of areas in our country. We are not in this to make money from this sport.”