Leuta steps aside from Premier League

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Mikia Kalati

PREMIER League Management Committee (PLMC) chairman John Leuta says he is stepping aside from his post and will not stand for re-election in the 17 August 2018 polls.

Leuta told this publication that he has completed his mission with the premiership and is making way for others to come with new ideas.

He took over the position in 2015 replacing Lebohang Thotanyana, who quit after he was appointed as the minister of Mining.

“I have decided that I will not stand for re-election and I have told my colleagues,” Leuta said.

“I have been here for a long time and I must give a chance to others to take over. I have been with the Premier League for six years and I think I have played my part and it is time for others to come with new ideas.”

He said his although he was happy with his tenure, he conceded that it had its lows.

“When we got here, the Premier League was struggling financially but we have all contributed for better organisation.

“However, as I leave, the league is an independent body that has its own office that is fully operational with two employed administrators.

“We have three sponsors for our three competitions with whom we have signed contracts for the next three years. When we got here there were trust issues with sponsors who were unwilling to commit to long term contracts but it’s different now and the sponsorship has increased.

“There have also been problems with the payment of referees but that is all in the past now as they get their money monthly instead of waiting for a whole year.”

He said the situation has also improved for the clubs as they now have access to sponsorship.

“We have also secured sponsorship for 10 teams that have been struggling financially and will each get a sponsorship worth M60 000 football equipment ahead of the new season.

“There is a lot of stability in our game now and the numbers of supporters coming to watch our matches has also improved while sponsors are also happy with the product. For me that means we have done a lot for the local league,” he said.

He admitted that the previous season was challenging due to long drawn conflict between Bantu and Lioli over irregular registration of players. He however, they have now resolved the problems and there was a guarantee that the new season will not be dogged by similar challenges.

“It would have been a mistake to start the new season without addressing all those problems.

“Apart from the Bantu vs Lioli problems, one of the biggest challenges is lack of facilities especially playing grounds for the clubs.”

Leuta however, said he would not turn his back to soccer completely as he would be actively involved in the running of Bantu where he is president.

“I still have a year to go in my term as the Bantu president and I have time to recruit and prepare some of the people in our committee to take over. The idea is to help identify the ideal replacement.

“Football is my life and as much as I am stepping down from the Premier League, I still have a lot to do for Bantu. The brand might have grown but we still have a lot to do in marketing the team and one of the goals is to start the Bantu sports shop.

“There are a lot of projects that are still pending and we want to source investors in and out of the country to help us grow,” Leuta said.

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