Thursday, July 7, 2022

Court terminates BFA, RPP contract

Negotiations between Supersport International and the Botswana Premier League (BPL) are set to intensify following a High Court decision Friday morning terminating the relationship between the latter and RP Productions Botswana over television rights. Justice Singh Walia granted the order in an uncontested application and ordered RPP to pay costs of the lawsuit, giving BFA the leeway to enter into a new contract.

Contrary to earlier objections, a day before the hearing, RPP Executive Producer, Robert Paltiel, wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) indicating that they will not contest the termination of the contract and will not appear in court on Friday.

“RP Productions herein agrees to cede the rights of the Premier League back to BFA,” he said.
Tshiamo Rantao and Sidney Pilane represented BFA in the lawsuit.

The BPL Chief Executive Officer, Bennett Mamelodi, told Sunday Standard that “today’s victory is only the beginning. There is still a whole lot of work to do. Unfortunately we do not have the luxury of time and have to constantly work under immense pressure from our stakeholders and the general public”.

He said now that they have the tv rights they have something concrete to take to the negotiation table to finalise the broadcasting issue. He declined to say if they are going to pursue Supersport save that they are speaking to a number of potential broadcasters to partner with but have not concluded any deal yet.

The win against RPP could be a small victory for BFA as it may be even more difficult for the association to recoup the P4.25 million owed by the company. Mamelodi said the Premier League Board will have to advise on the way forward, whether to go the litigation route or what. Even then negotiations for a new contract may drag on before approval by Supersport International board.

Sources say negotiations between the parties have not reached the stage where they could discuss financials as Supersport insisted on the RPP issue being resolved first.

Now that the pain in the back side, as Mamelodi calls RPP, has been dealt with, the BFA now has to convince their sponsors, be Mobile and Mascom, that games will soon be televised.

Already the sponsors are demanding answers from BFA. Sponsors of Botswana’s most lucrative cup competition, Mascom Top 8, have called on Botswana Premier League to clarify the television rights issue ahead of the commencement of the competition billed for February 23. Through a letter to Mamelodi dated January 23, the Chief Marketing Officer at Mascom, Dzene Makhwade-Seboni, made reference to a previous conversation regarding the TV rights deal briefing and said: “We were expecting this a while ago and with the Mascom Top 8 launch due in three weeks we are getting quite anxious about its non-delivery.”

Seboni also wanted Premier league to advise them on an alternative plan should the TV agreement not be effective by the time Mascom Top 8 launches. According to the sponsorship contract, Mascom is entitled to two of the four matches played in each weekend, semi-finals and the final of the tournament being broadcast live on Botswana Television.

Should the games begin without television coverage, individual players will also lose an opportunity to pocket P2 500 if voted man of the match, as this is only reserved for televised games.

Further at Article 8.2 Termination for cause or reason, Mascom shall be entitled, and without prejudice to alternative entitlement to require specific performance by the Botswana Premier League, to terminate the sponsorship with immediate effect, or on the expiry of such period of notice as Mascom may consider appropriate.

A list of events which could qualify for termination then follows. One of the events that may cause such termination is listed at clause 8.2.3 “if the BPL or any of its representatives commits any breach of any other provision of this agreement or fails to comply with any reasonable order or direction of Mascom, and does not remedy such breach or comply with such order or direction within seven days of previous notice in writing being given to that effect”.

Mamelodi said: “We always make every effort to keep our sponsors updated. We meet them regularly. Come match day, the games will go on and will be televised. We are committed to delivering this to our sponsor.”

The 2012-2013 edition of Mascom Top 8 is sponsored for P3 837 000 according to the contract, with an option to extend the competition into the 2013-2014 season with a projected sponsorship amount of P4 189 500.

In the maiden competition last season, Township Rollers beat Ecco City Greens 3-1 to win the title and walk away with P1 million.

Late last year, on November 20, be Mobile General Manager Masego Mathambo wrote to Mamelodi asking the Premier league to give them an exact date on which they planned to resume broadcast of premier league games. This was after Mamelodi informed be Mobile that they were on the verge of signing a contract with Supersport International following a meeting with the latter’s legal team on November 17. Media reports this week revealed that a meeting between the parties took place where an agreement may have been reached to give BFA more time to resolve the RPP TV rights saga.

According to the BTC sponsorship deal the Premier League is expected to provide live broadcasts for at least 60 games per season. be Mobile also has the first right of refusal for sponsorship of broadcasting of premier league games.

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