News

Nick Gordon
3 minute read
21 May 2014
7:00 am

Boxing promoter opens up on TV blackout

Nick Gordon

For months promoter Branco Milenkovic has kept a low profile during his protracted battle against Boxing South Africa (BSA) and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) over the ownership of television rights.

Picture: AFP

Tired of allegations against him the promoter has chosen to speak out regarding comments made by the Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, over the course of the weekend that appeared to lay the blame solely at the feet of Milenkovic with regards to the delays in getting the national broadcaster to lift its blackout on boxing.

But it’s not the case admitted Milenkovic in an exclusive interview yesterday during which he provided documents, in The Citizen’s possession, that disputed the fact that he was apparently the cause of the current stalemate with the national broadcaster.

“I was a bit scared to start this knowing that there was a possibility that I may never promote in this country again,” he said yesterday referring to the legal action he instituted back in November 2012 to dispute the ownership of television rights after suggestions by BSA and the Department of Sport and Recreation that the the regulatory body held said rights and not the promoters.

“But I’m going to finish what I started. Not just for me but also for the other promoters. I’ve been quiet for many months about these lies but the public is being mislead and it is now time to speak up.

“The reason I went to court was in my opinion, and even those of some of my biggest rivals, the unlawful and unconstitutional agreement between BSA and the SABC – at the discretion of the regulatory body – that they will be allocating dates and television rights to promoters,” Milenkovic said.

During the announcement of the new BSA board on the weekend, Mbalula alluded to the fact that it was Milenkovic who was holding up the process, an allegation that the promoter insists is wrong especially when taking into account an email sent to promoters by Loyiso Mtya, the acting CEO of BSA, on April 24 this year.

In the email, Mtya makes mention of a delay with the national broadcaster as the reason for the hold-up.

“The plans are still in place but have been delayed to the internal processes that have to be followed within SABC (sic) in order that all compliances and systems are satisfied,” wrote Mtya.

Another stumbling block that Milenkovic mentions is the fact that the office of Director General for Sport and Recreation, Alec Moemi, has yet to respond to a request by the promoter’s legal team to clarify the issue of the ownership of television rights as well as various other concerns.

That letter was dated March 18 and addressed directly to Moemi, a copy of which subsequently appeared in the media

“All I asked was for confirmation on ownership of TV rights. I asked for just one line concerning this which the DG has rejected,” Milenkovic said.

“That offer up to today has had no reply, no acknowledgement and no answer,” he added.

 

There’s more to this story than meets the eye, all of which will be unravelled in the coming months during a period in which the sport of boxing is clinging on for dear life.