New PSL CEO plans for the future

ENTHUSIASTIC: Premier Soccer League's CEO Kjetil Siem. Pic. 20/09/2007. © Sowetan.
ENTHUSIASTIC: Premier Soccer League's CEO Kjetil Siem. Pic. 20/09/2007. © Sowetan.

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Norwegian soccer journalist- turned-administrator Kjetil Siem has pledged to turn the Premier Soccer League into a professional and world-class structure.

Presenting his vision in Parktown, Johannesburg, yesterday, after being appointed new PSL chief executive, Siem said he wanted to make it one of the best premier leagues in the world.

Siem said he would like to see the PSL in a class similar to the top five premier soccer leagues in the world - England, Italy, Germany, Spain and France.

The enthusiastic Siem went on to say it was important for the PSL to take advantage of the benefits brought by the 2010 World Cup and also to be fully involved.

"We need to use the 2010 World Cup as a key to build proper manuals, for licensing and many other programmes to lift the league and the sport itself," he said.

"We are now getting there, [and are] ranked among the best in the world. Prior to the new PSL broadcast rights deal, we were ranked number 49 in the world.

"We are now seventh. We have a very strong PSL. With more money coming into our coffers, the PSL will continue to grow.

"If you focus more on the commercial aspect and ignore deve- lopment, you are bound to lose out. The most important thing is to balance the two."

He said he was looking forward to the 2010 World Cup, adding that people in other countries believed in South Africa's ability to host a successful event.

"People feel you [South Africa] deserve the 2010 World Cup. I strongly believe that the country will deliver a great tournament. South African football cannot miss out or miss this opportunity.

"The world media and club officials will also be here during the Soccerex [in Sandton in November], the focus is now on South Africa.

"We need to work together for the growth of the game. One of the things we need to take care [of] is talent, fair play, grassroots soccer and alternative training grounds."

On the issue of poor crowds at some of the games, Siem said it was important for clubs to offer tickets to local schools as part of their marketing strategy.

A strong believer of development, Siem said he was impressed by the few PSL games he watched to date, especially the game between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates in Durban on Saturday. He urged clubs to work closely with the media, saying the relationship will help in terms of their branding and marketing strategies.