AFCON is only ten days away and Nigeria has not yet got the rights to broadcast the matches live.
Nigerians may not watch live matches of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, said on Wednesday in Abuja.
BON Chairman, Abubakar Jijiwa, said in a news conference that this is as a result of a tussle over the payment for broadcast rights.
“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,” Mr. Jijiwa said.
He explained that the situation arose following the brick wall BON met in terms of the acquisition of broadcast rights from the concerned bodies.
The BON chairman said it started negotiations since November 1, 2012 with an offer of 1.2 million dollars to JCM-African Sports Consulting, after a letter from it on October 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.
Mr. Jijiwa said BON repeated the offer on November 27, after it learnt from LC2 it owned the rights, only for the company to on December 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 December 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.
Mr. Jijiwa said BON has 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 is 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.
Mr. Jijiwa then urged the federal government to intervene in the matter, saying the Presidency, National Sports Commission, Ministry of Information and the National Assembly have all been informed.
“We need their kind and early intervention in this matter, to save Nigeria from imminent and avoidable embarrassment,” Mr. Jijiwa said.
Nigeria is billed to play its first match at the competition on January 21 against Burkina Faso at Nelspruit.
The team’s other group first round games are against Zambia and Ethiopia and they will hold on January 25 and January 29, respectively.