SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux has issued a warning against proposed changes to broadcast regulations that, according to his assesment could set professional sport in South Africa on the road to ruin.
Icasa are eager to ensure that more sport is made available to South Africans on free-to-air TV after years of being dominated by pay-tv giant SuperSport.
SA Rugby warn Icasa may ruin professional sport
Roux issued the warning as virtual meetings began to allow stakeholder submissions on the proposed regulation changes.
The SA Rugby CEO, is not alone in his objections, with Premier Soccer League Chairman Dr Irvin Khoza also among those who have expressed concern.
Icasa claim they have completed an economic impact assessment to back up their proposals which include limits on contract terms agreed between sports federations and broadcasters and measures to oppose the monopoly held on certain sports by multichoice.
The proposals also include suggestions that sporting federations ‘unbundle’ their content to allow different providers to distribute it over the various channels and platforms.
“We have repeatedly said that we believe the current regulations meet an appropriate balance between national interest and the commercial needs of sport,” SA Rugby said of the proposal last year.
“Any move to further inhibit a sport’s ability to sell its event to broadcasters is a threat to the continuation of that sport. We will make known our objections to the white paper through the appropriate channels.”
At that time Multichoice were prepared to take a wait-and-see approach over the white paper.
“We are awaiting Icasa’s decision on proposed amendments to the Sports Broadcasting Regulations, as are all stakeholders that engaged extensively in this process. It remains our view that the current regulations strike a balanced approach and should not be amended.”
The Premier Soccer League is expected to make further submissions on the draft proposal, having opposed the implementation of the measures first floated in 2019. They believed then that the bill would cause significant damage to the sport of football and would not have any great benefits.
“The PSL is concerned that ICASA has not conducted a proper assessment of the likely effect of the remedies that are proposed in the Draft Findings. The PSL has previously made submissions (and does again in this document) regarding the extent to
which the proposed remedies will likely cause it harm, with significant knock-on effects for a wide range of stakeholders. ICASA has not taken these into account, nor has it demonstrated any benefits likely to arise from the proposed remedies which might offset this harm.”