SuperSport’s influence on South African rugby is at the centre of SA Rugby’s upcoming elections.
This is according to a report by the Sunday Times, which stated that “smaller” rugby unions “have become disillusioned with the TV channel’s role in the sport”.
The unions reportedly argued that SuperSport’s minority share interest in the Sharks and the Cheetahs “provides it a platform to influence major rugby decisions”.
They added that SuperSport does not want to show the Currie Cup’s First Division.
Jan Marais of the Griffons said certain unions are concerned about the broadcaster’s influence on the game.
A source told the Sunday Times that SuperSport – which is the broadcast rights holder of rugby in the country – was wielding its power behind the scenes.
The company is a huge investor in local rugby, but this places it at risk if the quality of the sport declines in South Africa.
SuperSport said it refutes the allegations of the “smaller unions” and said it does not influence rugby decision making.
“We hold only a minority shareholding in two of the 14 rugby unions. We assist those unions with their administration and expend significant cost and management time in doing so,” said SuperSport.
Another issue set to be raised it how the unions are paid their share of the broadcast funds from games.
The report stated that provinces which have Super Rugby franchises will receive R32 million a year. Other provinces will receive R17 million.