Minister of Sport to intervene in PSL radio debacle

Sports minister Tokozile Xasa has stepped into the fray after SABC confirmed on Friday evening that it would not broadcast any Absa Premier Soccer League fixtures on radio this season.

Xasa is not having any of it. In a statement issued on Saturday, the Minister said that "masses of our people will not be able to follow soccer, the most popular sport in our country in radio".

"I will be meeting with all relevant parties this coming week as this decision threatens social cohesion in our country and threatens jobs of many broadcasting sport journalists. The decisions they make in boardrooms must never affect the majority of our people negatively. I have full confidence that we will reach a decision that will satisfy majority of soccer loving people," Xasa said.

She added that soccer was mostly "followed by the poor and the working class in our country, the rural mass, taxi operators and truck drivers who solely depend on radio to follow this beautiful game".

The SA Communist Party (SACP) also weighed in on Saturday, calling for the PSL to allow the SABC to broadcast all its matches on radio while negotiations continue.

"The poor will literally be excluded if the decision, imposed by the PSL, for the SABC not to broadcast PSL matches on radio prevails. The SACP is calling on the PSL to allow the SABC to broadcast all its matches on radio while contractual negotiations on the broadcasting rights continue."

The SACP said broadcasting the matches on radio would "benefit workers who are on duty, motorists and others who depend on radio for access to the matches".

"The SABC is a public broadcaster. It is therefore crucial for the negotiations to take into account the total broadcasting, including production costs versus the SABC's public funding and revenue. Instead of a situation where the SABC will bleed financially, the negotiations should strengthen public broadcasting."