ZBC shuns PSL

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Five games into the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, there is no sign of the live coverage of football from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), amid reports that the country’s sole broadcaster wants to be paid to screen the games.

ZBC claim they have not been given the rights by the league to screen matches.

On Easter Monday, ZBC ignored the biggest match of the season — the Highlanders-Dynamos clash at Barbourfields which ended in a 0-0 draw and attracted more than 16 000 fans.

There was no mention of the results on the main news; instead, ZBC focused on a chess tournament.

Hundreds of fans across the country were denied access to Monday’s football results and social network Facebook, through a Football City debate Tuesday hit hard at ZBC for failing to screen the games.

Interestingly ZBH is chaired by Zifa president Cuthbert Dube while its finance manager is Elliot Kasu, who handles money matters on the same board.

PSL chief executive Kennedy Ndebele said all PSL games are free and all personnel from ZBC had been accredited for the season.

“So we don’t understand why the games, despite being free, are not covered. We understand they want to be paid, but they have not said anything about that. And we don’t understand how our sponsor comes in.

“Our negotiations with our sponsors include the payment of referees as some clubs are failing to play the match official. Worldwide, clubs are supposed to benefit from television rights,” Ndebele said.

Delta Beverages marketing executive Stan Muchenje said his organisation was engaged in negotiations with ZBC over the issue.

“It’s an issue under discussion with them and we are hoping that by the middle of the season, our dialogue would have resulted in something. We are not yet sure what route this will take,” he said.

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings public relations manager Sivukile Simango said his organisation has not been given the rights as yet.

“It is still pre-mature to discuss our negotiations with the owners of the rights through the press. The non-broadcasting of soccer matches on television is all to do with the rights. As it stands, ZBC has not been granted the rights to broadcast the said matches.”

But fans, former players, football administrators and sports journalists, are taking ZBC to task, especially the issue that the leadership of the organisation sit on the mother football association.

We will not name the panelists at Football City for professional reasons but we will capture their sentiments.

Read part of the comments from the debate:
“ZBC negotiates with PSL to screen matches for free to start with, to generate interest for this season. Next season ZBC buys the rights to screen the games. Once there is consistency, sponsors will come in to sponsor the clubs because they will get mileage through TV.”

“ABSA cannot pay SABC or Supersport to have the SA premiership screened on TV, neither does Barclays pay the BBC to have the English Premiership screened. Neither does the Premiership pay. How then will clubs benefit from TV when they have to pay to appear on TV?”

“Honestly as things stand right now, the PSL and ZBC could talk and come up with an agreement to screen the games even for free for now. Delta did their part they should leave them out of it.”

“I think they just wanted to take advantage of poor Delta which is wrong. Delta has got no business paying ZBC unless they want to run adverts separately before, during or after games depending on negotiations. ZBC pays the PSL for TV rights. Delta pays the PSL as the sponsor.”

“The ZBC gets their money from selling advertising space during, after or before games. “I think what is interesting here is that the ZBH chairman is Cuthbert Dube, who is the Zifa boss.

The ZBH finance director is Elliot Kasu, who is the Zifa treasurer. Can you imagine people had to call friends to get the results of yesterday’s (Monday) matches? They were not even on the news! I think we can only say ZBC is not a public broadcaster, period.”

“Screening the matches can only get them more viewers, hence more advertisements. But they choose to sabotage themselves. Sad.”

“Delta cannot pay double. They did their part by sponsoring the league. ZBC is a public broadcaster first and foremost. Some are not even allowed to say Castle Lager Premier Soccer League during interviews!”