SportFive wins rights to broadcast Africa’s World Cup qualifiers


he broadcast rights to the African qualifying games of the 2014 FIFA World Cup have been sold to Italian company B4, in association with France’s SportFive, for “a minimum of $23 million”.

The deal, signed on 20 September at the Cairo headquarters of the Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF), will see revenues distributed to each national football association on a sharing formula to be drawn up later this month.

The broadcast rights to home matches will be shown by a state terrestrial broadcaster, on a free-to-air basis. In a statement, Issa Hayatou, president of CAF said the decision would enable less privileged countries to ‘expose their matches on international platforms, considering the challenges facing some African countries in putting on an up to standard TV production.’

However, some nations are reported to be unhappy with the deal, which is touted by the CAF as a unanimous decision.An unnamed Nigeria Football Federation official reportedly told "There was no agreement to that effect. The idea was mooted, but Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria led some countries which made it clear they were unhappy with the arrangement."

Egypt claims to make an average of $5 million from each qualifying match, and reportedly thinks CAF’s decision to share $23 million among 52 football associations is unfair. The deal also embarrasses South Africa and Nigeria which have already sealed rights deals with other broadcasters.

The World Cup qualifiers run in Africa from November 2011 to November 2013, and involve 52 countries. The finals will be held in Brazil in 2014.