Football lovers in Rwanda will not be able to watch the national football league on TV from next season after Azam TV, the league sponsors, and broadcasters terminated the league sponsorship deal over breach of contract.
François-Régis Uwayezu, the secretary-general of Ferwafa confirmed that they received a letter from Azam TV Ltd on August 4, 2019, from their partners indicating that Azam TV will not sponsor the football league with effect from August 28, 2019.
In 2015, Ferwafa and Azam TV signed a Rwf1.7b ($2.35m) deal to sponsor the local football league and become the official holder of the broadcasting rights for five years in a contract that was supposed to end in 2020.
Part of the clause in the deal pointed out that only Azam TV broadcasting cameras would be allowed on the pitches and teams were not allowed to advertise in the stadiums.
As members and beneficiaries, the 16 teams in the topflight league received Rwf 10m for each season, the top eight in the league standing got additional Rwf 2million, the top four got an extra Rf2m while the league winners and runners-up received another 3million with the former pocketing Rwf 25m for being crowned champions.
In 2014, defending champions Rayon Sports obtained a three-year sponsorship deal worth Rwf 170m (182,000 Euros) from SKOL Brewery Ltd.
This did not go down well for Azam TV Company, which does not accept airing SKOL products including beer on its channels.
When Brig Gen (Rtd) Jean-Damascène Sekamana was elected FA president, he said that the Azam sponsorship deal was unfair and promised to renegotiate with the TV to increase the sponsorship package.
However, sources inside the Azam camp that prefer to remain anonymous because they don’t speak for the club said that another breach of the contract is that of other private televisions which sneaked in cameras and took video footages when games are underway.
According to the Ferwafa Secretary-General, all clubs as members of Ferwafa were notified to get prepared for the outcome, in case the FA fails to convince the pay-TV company to reconsider or get another sponsorship deal ahead of the new league.