SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux has claimed the future of the Springboks is in serious danger if plans for new television rules making key sports free-to-air in South Africa are implemented.
With South African rugby losing key players to lucrative contracts in European rugby, Roux believes the loss of television revenue would sound the death knell for the professional sport in the country over the next five years. He made his claim while appearing before the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) who are planning to implement the draft broadcasting regulations.
ICASA want to amend the sport broadcasting services regulations of national sporting events that are of national importance to receive full live coverage on free-to-air. Events included in the proposed compulsory category for free to air are the 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.
“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.”
Roux revealed that 57 percent of South African Rugby Union revenue comes from broadcasting‚ 26 percent from sponsorship and 17 percent from Tests‚ events and grants. “Rugby is a business‚ we don’t receive money from government (0.3% to be fair)‚ 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.”
In other news: Pocock confirms departure from Australia
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