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'Multichoice and SABC to resolve local football blackout impasse by Thursday'

Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa is confident that SABC and Pay-TV company Multichoice will find a solution to impose PSL broadcast rights that has led to a blackout of local football at the public broadcaster.

Mthethwa said following Tuesday's meeting he and communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams held talks with Multichoice chairman Imtiaz Patel, CEO Calvo Mawela, and Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza.

In a statement, Mthethwa said the meeting had "paved the way for a sustainable and long-term solution to the dispute that has resulted in PSL matches not being broadcast on the public broadcaster".

The meeting follows another one between the two ministers and the SABC two weeks ago. Mthethwa said all affected parties will now meet within 48 hours in an effort to resolve the issue that has denied millions of South Africans access to local football since the league season began more than two weeks ago.

“What is a crucial outcome to this day is that both PSL and Multichoice honored the appointment and that they are an indication of their appreciation of the gravity of the matter. I am happy that both parties understand that despite their conflicting interests, which are valid on individual accounts, what can no longer be treated lightly is the heavy burden this impasse has on South Africans, "said Mthethwa.

He added: "After this interaction, we are confident that a resolution to this impasse is imminent as of Thursday."

The SABC has already indicated that acquiring rights at their current value of R280m for 144 games per year was not commercially viable, as the cash-strapped public broadcaster would make revenue of just R47m per year.

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