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22.08.2003 Football News

Fresh Bargain Means ¢900m For League Clubs

By Graphic Sports
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The 16 premier league clubs stand to share about $105,000 (over ¢900 million) from television rights this year, following a review of the existing contract between the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and private television firm, Crystal TV.

Crystal TV, which has a broadcast agreement with the country’s football regulatory body, had already paid $85,000 to the FA for the rights to broadcast football matches in Ghana this year. They, were, however, compelled to top up the money by $20,000 after a review of the deal this week.

The powerful league clubs association, GHALCA, rejected the previous deal as a sell-out and thus pressurised the GFA and other stakeholders to renegotiate the existing contract with Crystal TV, or risk the co-operation of the clubs. Among the changes made to the deal are the reduction of the contract period, from 11 years to five years, and an upward adjustment of the broadcast fees for the second to fifth year.

Under the new arrangement, the television firm is expected to pay to the FA the additional amount of $20,000 by the 18th week matches (three matches into the second round of the premier league), for rights to telecast to domestic and international audience the Premier League, FA Cup matches and possibly the Division One League.

From next year to the fifth year, Crystal TV will pay a total sum of $1 million, which amounts to an annual payment of $250,000. And as from next year onwards the Division One League clubs will also have a slice of the cake, as their matches have been included in the coverage. In fact, broadcast of national team matches, which were included in the original contract, has been expunged from the new agreement.

GHALCA Chairman, Mr. J.Y. Appiah, told the Graphic Sports on Wednesday that after the end of the five-year contract, the clubs will advise the FA to open up the broadcast rights for tender for competitive bidding as pertains in Europe where TV rights provide a chunk of sponsorship money. This process, in his view, will enable the sport’s regulatory body to receive market rates for the broadcast rights.

Even though the GHALCA boss was satisfied with the new turn of events, he indicated that there were still a few knotty points yet to be untied. “Our lawyers are still meeting with Crystal TV to sort out a few issues and I believe the issues will be handled to the satisfaction of all parties,” Mr Appiah said.

One hurdle both parties were unable to resolve was that of live coverage of matches. GHALCA wants it stopped altogether as it adversely affects attendances at matches and consequently reduces gate earnings by clubs.

At their meetings, Crystal TV reportedly argued strongly for the retention of live telecast of matches, but GHALCA favoured a delayed telecast for the same reason. However, negotiation is still going on for an amicable settlement of all thorny issues.

Last Sunday Ghana Television (GTV), which has a syndication agreement with Crystal TV for coverage of matches, telecast live from Kumasi the premiership match between Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Sekondi Hasaacas, much to the chagrin of GHALCA.

Negotiations are also going on for GTV to provide additional airtime for such premiership clubs as Kotoko, RTU, King Faisal and Liberty Professionals who have kit sponsorship and other forms of corporate sponsorship (including others who may secure sponsorship later) during their broadcasts involving the league. This facility is intended to give such sponsors the needed value for their investment, and also as bait for other corporate sponsors.

Mr Appiah also disclosed that GHALCA had asked the GFA to furnish the clubs’ body with contract details between the FA and Kinapharma, which gave the pharmaceutical company the title rights for the premier league in a ¢1.5 billion deal. The cash component of the sponsorship is reported to be ¢600 million, which the clubs view as grossly inadequate.

Thus, GHALCA request for the contract is to arm them to ensure that in subsequent years they have an input in any agreement involving clubs.

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