Pay-television channel SuperSport have reached a late agreement to televise Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates’ preliminary round continental competition matches on Wednesday.
SuperSport’s online schedule on SuperSport.com at the time of this story going live still did not reflect the two home fixtures to be aired as the deal was apparently only concluded with the two clubs this week.
Pirates meet Light Stars FC of Seychelles in the opening round of the Caf Champions League – on Bucs’ return to the competition having been 2013 losing finalists against Egyptian giants Al Ahly – at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night (kickoff 7.30pm).
Chiefs host Tanzanian club Zimamoto in the Confed Cup opening round at FNB Stadium (7.30pm).
Wednesday’s two other matches involving SA clubs – Mamelodi Sundowns against Leones Vegetarianos in the Champions League in Equatorial Guinea; and Free State Stars against Rwanda’s Mukura Victory Sports in the Confed at Goble Park – are not being televised on SuperSport or SABC.
Neo Momodu‚ general executive: corporate affairs and marketing for the SABC‚ said the cash-strapped public broadcaster cannot afford the rights to continental matches at present.
“Due to the dire financial situation of the SABC‚ broadcast rights for the Caf Champions League and Confederations Cup were not acquired. The SABC will not be broadcasting the said matches‚” Momodu said via email.
SuperSport’s communications manager Clinton van der Berg said the deal to televise Chiefs and Pirates’ Caf matches was reached late due to rights issues.
“These particular rights are owned by the clubs. We had to wait for their approach before acquiring and scheduling‚” Van der Berg said.
Pirates’ administrative officer Floyd Mbele said that Bucs had to await confirmation from Caf (the Confederation of African Football)‚ via the SA Football Association (Safa)‚ that TV rights for preliminary round matches are controlled by the clubs.
From the group stages Caf controls TV rights.
“We’re playing the preliminary round where we get to be told by Caf via Safa whether the TV rights are ours or not. And on the strength of that conversation then we are able to go to the broadcaster and ask them to televise‚” Mbele said.
Sundowns’ acting general manager Yogesh Singh said the 2016 Champions League winners are in negotiations with SuperSport to have their home leg match (in Atteridgeville on December 5) televised.