Sun. May 31st, 2020

SA Rugby Chief warns against sport broadcasting regulations amendment

Jurie Roux says SA Rugby would have to shut up shop within five years if the proposed amendments are passed into law.

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SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux believes that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) could kill sport in the country with a proposed amendment to sport broadcasting regulations.

Roux made his beliefs known on the second day of hearings on the draft sports broadcasting service amendment regulations in Centurion on Tuesday morning.

ICASA have made plain their intent to amend the broadcasting services regulations of sporting events that are of national importance to receive full live coverage on free-to-air TV. That would mean sporting bodies could no longer sell the rights to their events.

Olympic Games‚ Paralympics‚ Fifa World Cup‚ Africa Cup of Nations (men and women)‚ Rugby World Cup‚ ICC Cricket World Cup‚ International Boxing Federations‚ national Netball‚ Commonwealth games and IAAF will all fall under the proposed sport broadcasting regulations amendment.

Roux said the move would kill not only professional rugby but all sport in South Africa, bankrupting organizing bodies who rely on the money they make from selling TV rights.

“Our doors will close in the next five years if these regulations are implemented‚” Roux told hearing chairperson Palesa Kadi.

“Exclusivity is key in sport and the current regulations strike a good balance.

“But at this rate there won’t be sport in five years and there won’t be the Springboks.”

The CEO revealed that 57% of SA Rugby’s revenue comes from TV rights and the proposed changes would be catastrophic for rugby.

“Rugby is a business‚ we don’t receive money from government [0.3% of SA Rugby’s revenue comes from government funding]‚ we don’t have charitable status and we have zero donors‚” he said.

“We don’t have a rich uncle or a trust fund‚ we don’t pay dividends or make payment profits for shareholders.

“The income we earn is reinvested for the benefit of rugby and South Africans.

“Sponsorships will never cover the value of broadcasting revenue and without income and funding we will have no sport.

“Our plea is to protect the sport which is a national asset because it will not survive.

“We will not have funding to start grassroots projects and in sport around the world‚ exclusivity is the basis on which rights are sold.”

Premier Soccer League representatives are expected to make their representations on Wednesday. The PSL have already issued a similar warning to the message sent by Roux.

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