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Dr. Irvin Khoza Chairman – Premier Soccer League © Backpagepix

Ladies and Gentlemen the world has become a village that can be traversed three hundred and sixty degrees, twenty-four seven, in real time. The proliferation of smart phones around the world is enabling an uncontrolled distribution of content in a manner that bypass traditional channels in ways unimagined a few years ago.

Digital communication has become the new normal. Our understanding of the digital economy and its rapid developments is imperative. Digital value chains bypass the physical borders and laws that nations of the world relied on for control. Our content can easily be distributed without our participation and benefit in real time. All it takes is a server in some small population island with access to the speed and bandwidth provided by one of the undersea cables that traverse the length and breadth of the oceans surrounding the land mass we live on.

We must, for example, understand content aggregators in context. They have succeeded in developing Apps that have undermined the business models of the big telecom giants.

It is therefore imperative for us to stay ahead of the curve in our following and understanding the issues of content and data management. We, ladies and gentlemen, don’t only play football in the field of play, we are content providers, we are in the content business. These developments are particularly important to our business going forward. They can potentially enhance our business, yet they can irreconcilably undermine our business model if we are not careful and vigilant.

It is against this backdrop that I focus my remarks this year to this momentous development. We have faced threats before and emerged victorious. Our SWOT analysis reveals our collective spirit as an undeniable strength that has afforded us an opportunity to present a united force in the face of issues and challenges that could easily have divided us.

Broadcast is the single biggest pipeline of our income streams. Changes in the broadcast landscape will undoubtedly have an effect on our business model going forward. It is incumbent upon us to follow and understand developments in this space armed with the knowledge and experience of where we come from. Our model of collective selling has, for example, enabled us to achieve cohesion and control in a manner that we could not achieve individually.

We however, live in the times where disruption is an extoled strategy. A value chain can be completely disrupted where the power and benefit equation undermine those that do the heavy lifting. You- ladies and gentlemen, will relate to this example because you continue to suffer from its inequity. Why is the market skewed in favour of player agents, abomafikizolo, who arrive after all the discovery and development work has been done on the players at a huge cost to the club owners only to cream it? We should be vigilant and not make it possible for our value chain to be skewed against us because we were not attentive, or we were divided.

I am raising these issues to create introspection on our part, the Club Chairmen. Experience has taught us over and over again that failure or lapses in doing these kinds of self-examinations hit our pockets. People make money of us with no benefit for us at all. Unless we are convinced that collective selling has outlived its usefulness. In which case we should agree to go it alone.

Introspection is important because it eliminates ignorance as an excuse for inaction. We cannot in good conscience say we were not forewarned if we introspected properly.

It is, for example, patently clear that the PSL Digital Strategy is overdue. Our digital strategy needs to respond to the opportunities and threats of the digital economy.

It is these kinds of introspections and our collective spirit that has enabled us to identify the need and embark on the corporatisation of our organisation which I am happy to announce is almost complete. I am also happy to announce the finalisation of the Internal Employee Handbook, PAIA Manual and Safety & Security Manual.

We continue to further strengthen our governance. Under the leadership of Dr Molefi Oliphant, the FIB – First Instance Body, has been set up for issuance of club licensing.

In the year under review that has been filled with many activities planned and unplanned, I would like to single a few noteworthy events for my specific mention.

It was sad for me to observe a further relegation of Santos Football Club. Santos has a historical significance in being the last club from the old Federation in the NSL. Being a Club Chairman is a labour of love and service. Goolam Allie has continued to use resources he could reserve for his family to continue a commitment to Santos for which he deserves our pause and gratitude.

On the subject of those deserving of our pause and gratitude let me take this opportunity to remember those that departed.

Mr Dan Leboa whom I remember mostly for his selflessness. I remember how he, together with Simon Selepe, drove in a kombi with no air conditioner to Mpumalanga then to the Northern Cape to set up Association structures following the formation of the NSL. He was never thrown out. For forty-six years, he continued to impart his knowledge and passion until his sad passing.

Mr Ian McLeod who like the post man of old would never let snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay his duties from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. He passed away whilst returning from yet another call of duty he performed with fine distinction.

A lot of clubs have expressed to me their appreciation of the interactions and interventions they have had from Ms Mato Madlala our Acting CEO. Many Club Chairmen mentioned their joy at visiting the office. They particularly mentioned the equity in solutions Ms Mato Madlala provided. They felt that decisions where not arrived at punitively.

Let me add in my gratitude to Ms Mato Madlala my thanks to the staff of the league. The system works because the centre holds. My gratitude also goes out to the clubs especially the Club Chairmen and their families at whose support the Club Chairmen are able to serve.

One of the most welcome additions to our programme is the Multichoice Diski Challenge.

Since its inception, it has grown from strength to strength. An average of three players now graduate to their first teams from their respective Multichoice Diski Challenge teams. The Multichoice Diski Challenge fixtures has a geographical span that have succeeded in localising our football in ways the PSL and NFD has not been able to achieve.

On this bright note I thank our broadcasters, sponsors and partners for our mutually beneficial relationships. In the year under review we managed to renew all our sponsorships.

I conclude by cautioning against allowing a culture to creep in, if left unchecked, we won’t be able to contain when it has set root.

We need to keep expediency in check.

We are stronger together.

Our proposition is better defendable together.

Whereas we compete and should compete in the field of play; remember in a business we should together defend lest we perish.


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