The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) yesterday in Abuja said its members may not broadcast live matches of the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
BON Chairman, Abubakar Jijiwa, told a news conference on the competition's broadcast rights that this was because of a tussle over the right payment for it.
The 2013 AFCON is holding in South Africa from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10. Nigeria's Super Eagles, one of the 16 participating teams, have been drawn in Group C alongside defending champions Zambia, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.
"There is the need for BON to inform Nigerians on efforts made so far to secure the broadcast rights for the competition and to say that the situation is not encouraging at all. We believe this is the time for the government of Nigeria to intervene on behalf of the people of Nigeria, especially since the 2013 AFCON is only 10 days away," Jijiwa said.
He explained that the situation arose following the brick wall BON had met in terms of the acquisition of broadcast rights from the concerned bodies. The BON chairman said it had started negotiations since Nov. 1, 2012 with an offer of 1.2 million dollars to JCM-African Sports Consulting, after a letter from it on Oct. 19.
"After it rejected that offer about two weeks later, we increased it to 1.5 million dollars but the company insisted on eight million euros," he said.
Jijiwa said BON was to repeat the offer on Nov. 27, after it learnt from LC2 it owned the rights, only for the company to on Dec. 5 direct it to CFOOT Ltd for negotiations.
"Because of problems of time at this point in time and the fact that the competition is already branded, thus limiting our possibilities of advertising, we had to make a new offer.
"We thus, on Dec. 12, offered to CFOOT either one million U.S dollars for all the 32 matches or 300,000 dollars for selected matches, with CFOOT rejecting this on Dec. 21," he said.
The BON chairman, who is also the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), said JCM-African Sports Consulting had since been interceding on its behalf with CFOOT on its price.
"So far, CFOOT has not responded, while we have only seen a letter from FTPA, a legal firm representing LC2, threatening BON on the rights issue," he said.
Jijiwa said BON felt it had done all that was necessary for it to secure the rights and felt embarrassed by FTPA's letter since
"We at no time pronounced that we have the rights". He said the organisation was confident that its members would not breach the rules to go on and broadcast the matches, without paying for the rights.
"'We are professional broadcasters, and we will not broadcast any match we have not agreed with the rights owners on payment. It is a matter of honour and obligation and our members are aware of this. Even the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is aware of this development too," he said." (NAN)
Jijiwa then urged the federal government to intervene in the matter, saying the Presidency, National Sports Commission (NSC), Ministry of Information and the National Assembly have all been informed. (NAN)
"We need their kind and early intervention in this matter, to save Nigeria from imminent and avoidable embarrassment," Jijiwa said.
NAN reports that Nigeria is billed to play its first match at the competition on Jan. 21 against Burkina Faso at Nelspruit. The team's other group first round games are against Zambia and Ethiopia and they will hold on Jan. 25 and Jan. 29, respectively. (NAN)