Free-To-Air TV

Free-To-Air TV: Rugby Boss Unhappy With New Broadcast Regulations Proposals In SA

South Africa's Rugby has indicated objections against the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA's) new proposed broadcast regulations. The CEO of Rugby SA, Mr Jurie Roux, issued a strong warning against the regulations' proposed changes, saying that this action could set professional sport in South Africa on the road to ruin.

The SA Rugby CEO made these statements at a virtual stakeholders meeting whereby sports entities and the regulator discussed submissions to the proposed regulations by ICASA.

ICASA is trying to ensure that more rugby is made available to South Africans on free-to-air TV after years of the sport being dominated by pay-tv giant Multichoice under SuperSport.

The proposals also suggest that sporting federations must 'unbundle' their content to allow different providers to distribute them 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 the 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."

The views expressed Rugby CEO, were supported by Premier Soccer League Chairman Dr Irvin Khoza, who was also among those who have expressed concern.

The Premier Soccer League is expected to make further submissions on the draft proposal, having opposed implementing the measures first floated in 2019. They believed then that the bill would cause significant damage to 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."


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