4 May 2010
A partnership agreement between South Africa’s Premier Soccer League and Germany’s Bundesliga was unveiled last week at the Deutsche Internationale Schule in Johannesburg, and PSL CEO Kjetil Siem says it holds many advantages for the development of the game in South Africa.
Siem told the press conference: “This is a truly momentous occasion for us in the PSL, and one of the highlights of my PSL career. This can only be beneficial to the entire PSL football family as we continue to raise the bar on and off the field.”
Tom Bender, the Chief Marketing Officer of the German Football League (DFL), said: “We are happy with the co-operation. We are convinced that both sides will profit and have enormous benefits from this partnership. The PSL is a perfect partner for a great future.”
Largest crowds in world football
Judging from the successes of the Bundesliga, it has a lot to offer the PSL. For starters, the Bundesliga features the largest average crowd size in the world of about 42 000. Back in 2000 that average was 28 000. How the league improved its average by 14 000 people a game over the course of a decade will be well worth investigating.
Christian Pfennig, Director of Communication of the DFL, told the South African Press Association: “That success did not happen overnight. We planned hard and most importantly we plough €70 million (about R700-million) into development every year and it has paid big dividends with the Bundesliga being one of the best run and one of the most competitive leagues in Europe.”
After the 2006 World Cup, which was held in Germany, the Bundesliga and the German Football Federation shared an estimated R1-billion rand. Just what the South African Football Association is going to share with the PSL remains to be seen, but the benefit would be great, said Pfennig.
He explained that the PSL is in a similar position to that in which the Bundesliga found itself four years ago and there is plenty to build upon, including infrastructure and stadiums.
Another strength of the Bundesliga is the fact that relatively few clubs have large debts, unlike the English Premier League (EPL). Its operating margin is considerably better than that of the English Premier League, too, which sees much of the EPL’s money going towards massive salaries for the players. Clearly, there are more lessons to be learnt from this.
Siem is especially excited about the development programme of the Bundesliga, which he believes will be of great help to South Africa.
“The Germans have the finest youth development structure in Europe and therefore the German national team is one of the best. We need to look into boosting our development structures,” Siem explained.
“If the Bundesliga can help us in that department then this partnership will have been more than worthwhile.
“But that is not the only place we can score. The Bundesliga can assist us to develop commercially and in the administration of the game.”
Another area that Siem is happy about is scheduling. He believes the Bundesliga has the best scheduling software in the game.
Siem said that as part of the new deal there would also be an exchange of coaches and players between the PSL and the Bundesliga. Further co-operation would include establishing youth performance centres, a possible charity project in South Africa, and co-operation in club licensing, marketing, media, communication and sales.
Apart from the day-to-day cooperation, two meetings will take place each year, one in South Africa and one in Germany.
As part of the deal, pay television channel SuperSport will broadcast a weekly Bundesliga programme. The channel already carries live matches from the league.
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