20.01.2008 Football News

Nations Cup blackout for Rwanda

By The New Times
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Rwanda is the latest African country to miss the broadcast of the 26th edition of the Nations Cup on television.

The tournament starts on Sunday and the event will not be shown on Rwanda's national television,TVR.

The national broadcasting office (ORINFOR) failed to raise the sum demanded by broadcasting rights holders LOC.

ORINFOR director general Oscar Kimanuka told Times Sport the rights holder initially asked for $420,000 a figure that ORINFOR could not raise.

When contacted the minister of Youth, Culture and Sports Joseph Habineza, disclosed that they are still waiting for a response from CAF concerning the fee charged by the broadcasting rights owner.

''We wrote to the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa and CAF to have the fees reduced but until now, we haven't got any response,'' Habineza said.

The Amavubi stars did not qualify for the tournament and so, local football fans will not be able to watch the 16 team tournament on national television unless they have access to satellite televisions DSTV's Supersport or Gateway broadcasting's G-SPORTS.

Rwanda isn't the only country facing the possibility of not watching the event. Several national broadcasters across Africa are in a dilemma of missing out on Africa's prime soccer tournament.

Football fans in Nigeria and Zambia will be relying on satellite television. Zambia National

Broadcasting Cooperation director general Joseph Salasini told BBC Sport that LC2 initially asked for $1.8m.

The figure was reduced to $1.5 million, but the ZNBC managed to raise only $150,000 towards the amount required.

"This level of broadcast rights is unprecedented in the history of African football. This amount is close to ZNBC's sales budget for a quarter," said Salasini.

Salasini said his institution cannot raise the remainder of the money, despite embarking on a rigorous fundraising campaign last year.

"As director-general of the ZNBC, I have the solemn duty and burden to face and inform the nation about this unpleasant position," he said.

"As Zambians, we have a choice of putting money into football or securing the lives of the people who are affected by floods," he added.

"I think what we have seen is that those holding broadcast rights are essentially looking at exploiting the nature of football in Africa, which is wrong.

"It's wrong to exploit the passion of African people regarding football."

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