By James K. Attaglo Wilson|

Hopes of introducing free-to-air coverage of the 2019/2020 Ghana Premier League [GPL] remain mired in uncertainty just days to start of live TV coverage of the competition as promised by the Ghana Football Association President, Kurt E.S Okraku last Saturday on an Accra based radio station – Joy [99.7] FM.

The Ghana Football Association [GFA] and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation [GBC] have been entangled in an untidy mass of brawl since the FA announced Chinese broadcast firm [StarTimes] as the television rights holder of the GPL and the FA Cup at the expense of the state broadcaster – GBC.

A statement from the GFA announcing StarTimes as the official TV rights holder on Wednesday read:

“The Ghana Football Association welcomes StarTimes as its partner and is looking forward to having a fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship.”

The statement further reiterated that the agreement between the GFA and StarTimes is for five years worth$5.25 million and that part of the monetary consideration will be used to produce matches and highlights of the Ghana Premier League, Division One League, the Women’s Premier League, as well as the FA Cup.

But the GBC on Thursday, January 09 released a statement to register its displeasure at the GFA, claiming that the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation made a superior offer for the acquisition of the TV rights.

According to the state broadcaster [GBC], its offered $1,100,000 annually which was above StarTimes’ $1,050,000 annual bid.

“The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation put in a bid which we are certain was superior to what the StarTimes is said to have submitted. As published on the GFA website, StarTimes offered to pay UDS 5,250,000 which comes up to USD 1,050,000 annually whilst GBC made a financial offer of USD 1,100,000 annually,” the statement said,” a statement signed by the Director of Corporate Affairs, Ms Mamle Asare read.

“It is for this and other reasons that we received the news with disappointment and shock,” it added.

Meanwhile, the GFA in a counter press statement on the subject matter said it was shocked by the deliberate misinformation in the statement issued by the GBC.

The GFA went ahead to respond with the its own facts as follows:

1. On December 5, 2019, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) issued a statement to invite bids from media organisations for television broadcast rights for its competitions or any combination of its competitions. (Premier League, Division One League, Women’s Premier League, FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup).

2. The deadline for submission of bid was 5 p.m. on Tuesday December 10, 2019.

3. At the end of the bid deadline, GBC had submitted two different bids:

a. The first bid was for Free To Air TV – Exclusive Media Rights, Digital Rights and Radio Rights for the territory of Ghana for 4 years at a proposed fee of GHc8,800,000 (GHc 2,200.000 per season) for all the five GFA Competitions named above.

b. The second bid was for Exclusive Media Rights for Ghana and Global for 4 years at a proposed fee of GH 10,200,000 (GH 2,550.000 per season) and a fee of GH 200,000 for radio (GH 50,000 per season) for all the five competitions.

4. The GBC bid also had conditions attached to the bid, among them a revenue share on any Title Sponsorship that the GFA secured for its competitions (GBC wanted 20% share).

5. The GFA Bid Evaluation Team had a meeting with GBC and informed them that none of the two bids they submitted met the valuation of the GFA. At that same meeting, GBC was told they were 3rd in the GFA’s valuation. However, the GFA, in light of that, has made the highlights of the Ghana Premier League and the FA Cup non exclusive in order for GBC to benefit from it.

6. It was at this meeting that GBC representatives indicated that they would consult their bosses and revert to the GFA.

7. On January 2, 2019, GBC emailed a 3rd and 4th bids (note that these were long after the deadline of the bidding period which ended at 5 p.m. on December 10, 2019). The late bid were as follows:

a. The third bid (out of time) was for Exclusive FTA and Digital Rights for Ghana and Global for four (4) years for

a proposed fee of GH 12,000,000 (GH 3,000,000 per season) for all five GFA competitions with condition to have a share in GFA Title Sponsorship (30% for GBC).

b. The 4th bid (out of time) was for an exclusive television and digital rights for Ghana and Global for 4 years for GH 25,080,000 (GH 6,270,000 per season) for Ghana Premier League and FA Cup with a condition to have a share of Title Sponsorship if the GFA secured one (30% share for GBC).

8. It must be stated unequivocally that evaluation of bids is not only about the financials but includes all conditions, such as those GBC stated in their proposal, such as the 30% share GBC wanted on all Title Sponsorships.

9. Of utmost importance is the fact that the net value of the bid of GBC was actually lower than the amount quoted in the bid because of the proposed revenue share of Title Sponsorship (eg. should we activate that clause on the MTN FA Cup Title Sponsorship amount).

10. It must be stated clearly that even if only financials alone were considered, the 4th bid of GBC (which was out of time) was not the bid with the highest financial consideration. Two other proposals were higher than the GBC bids but other conditions (due diligence) affected those bids.

11. The GFA, having gone out of its way to make the highlights show non-exclusive for the benefit of all television stations, does not deserve the deliberate misinformation issued by GBC.

12. In conclusion, the GFA wishes to assure its members and all stakeholders that the evaluation conducted on the bid was very thorough and was strictly in compliance with the deadline issued to the Ghanaian public and the world at large.