Tanzania: Simba and Yanga Football Clubs try to get local broadcasters to pay for showing matches

Two of Tanzania’s leading football clubs, Simba and Yanga, are trying to persuade local broadcasters who show their matches to pay them for the privilege. In a dramatic move, leaders of two influential clubs in the country, Simba and Yanga attempted to stop local TV stations from beaming live their matches over the weekend, saying the free live coverage was depriving them the much needed revenue.

The first incident occurred during second round opening match between Yanga and African Lyon at the Uhuru Stadium, when the former's officials tried to stop ITV and Star TV production crews from broadcasting their match. The following day saw Simba officials doing the same, when their team faced Majimaji of Songea at the same venue.

Though the stations succeeded in covering the matches after a prolonged debate, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) last week announced that all live broadcasts have been stopped to give room for negotiations. Speaking to the 'Daily News' today Simba Spokesperson Clifford Ndimbo, said they believe that only dialogue will help them to reach a common understanding with the broadcasters.

"We're ready to sit in a round table with any interested TV stations and strike a deal. We need a win-win situation, they benefit by using our product (football) and we should benefit as well. They are supposed to pay us to acquire the rights. This is done all over the world. You're not allowed to televise matches without paying charges. Clubs earn a lot of money from TV rights; it's one of the main sources of income in modern football."

Ndimbo said their decision to obstruct TV stations from beaming live their match against Majimaji was solely geared to safeguard the club's rights, "Not because it could have affected gate collections, even if the stadium had been packed to the brim, we couldn't allow them to beam the match live without buying TV rights."

The ongoing saga had its roots back last year, when local TV stations got TFF blessings to broadcast live Vodacom premier league matches, months after the liquidation of GTV, the United Kingdom based pay per view television, which had bought exclusive rights to broadcast live matches.

In the wake of the meltdown of GTV, TFF President Leodegar Tenga announced that interested TV stations were free to beam live league matches, while the federation was still looking for a new partner. Ndimbo challenged TFF's decision to give televisions the rights to broadcast matches without consulting clubs, arguing that on the other hand the federation had been selling TV rights to TV stations whenever they organize matches for the national team, Taifa Stars.

He recalled that all premier league clubs were benefiting from GTV contract, "GTV ensured that clubs no matter their position and status they benefit from their contract with TFF. Even those which were relegated had their percentage." Ndimbo though could not reveal how much Simba is demanding in payment to allow interested TV stations to beam their matches. TFF General Secretary Frederick Mwakalebela already declared intention to meet clubs and TV stations to sort out the problem, which would see the matches are beamed live for the benefit of the country's football, clubs and players.

Tanzania Daily News

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