SuperSport wins battle for Harambee Stars broadcast rights
Football Kenya Federation has succumbed to intense pressure from the Confederation of African Football and allowed SuperSport to broadcast the highly billed Africa Nations Championships qualifier between Kenya and Ethiopia in Nairobi on Saturday afternoon.
This is after Caf threatened to ban Harambee Stars from the competition should FKF fail to rescind their decision to award the broadcast rights to Chinese firm StarTimes.
On Thursday, FKF and StarTimes had sealed a sponsorship deal worth Sh 500 million that will see the latter broadcasting all Harambee Stars friendly matches as well as branding and kitting the team
“Any infringement to all or part of CAF TV rights and properties, notably in cases of using the rights without a valid agreement signed with CAF violates the competitions regulations and is liable to the disqualification of our team from the competition and to legal proceedings,” the statement dated July 3, 2015 and signed by the continental football body’s marketing and TV Director Amr Shaheen read.
On receipt of this letter, FKF’s top brass quickly convened an impromptu meeting and released a statement that read.
“The production of the (Kenya v Ethiopia) match will be done by SuperSport International after an agreement between the Confederation of African Football (CAF), SportFive and FKF.”
This statement though presented an about-turn from FKF, who had for the past two days leading to Saturday insisted that StarTimes was the channel that would air the match on Saturday at Nyayo National Stadium starting 4pm.
However, the South African owned SuperSport, which has an agreement with Caf had all through maintained and announced to its audience of its intent to show the match.
This stand off between the three parties was all but diplomatic. At some point on Friday evening, the match venue was surrounded by armed police who were reportedly under instructions not to allow SuperSport crew to access the venue and set up their equipment.
Kenya requires to win the match by three clear goals, to progress to the next phase of this competition – which is reserved for players featuring in their respective home leagues.