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Monday 10 March 2014

Steven Pienaar welcomes Barclays Premier League Live to South Africa

Everton midfielder happy to see first Barclays Premier League fan park to be held in Johannesburg

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore is looking forward to the first fan park in South Africa

South Africans will experience the Barclays Premier League like never before as supporters in the country will have the chance to come and watch five live matches broadcast on a 100-square-metre screen, meet legends of the Barclays Premier League and get up close to the iconic Barclays Premier League Trophy this month.

The inaugural Barclays Premier League Live event will take place at the Zoo Lake Sports Club in Johannesburg on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 March, 2014.  It will be a fan park, free to enter with an interactive experience designed for the entire family to enjoy as well as some great matches, such as Arsenal v Manchester City and Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur.

"South African fans are passionate about their football and BPL Live is a great way for them to watch the Barclays Premier League"
Steven Pienaar

With every Barclays Premier League matchday broadcast to 212 territories and 804m homes, the Barclays Premier League is the biggest continuous annual global sports event in the world, with the international audience growing each year.

Barclays Premier League Live is about rewarding those fans and showcasing the passion and excitement of Barclays Premier League matches and grounds.

There will be a number of zones that will bring the Barclays Premier League to life in Johannesburg:

• The Trophy Zone: fans will be able to get near to the Barclays Premier League Trophy.

• The Club Zone: supporters will be able to learn more about the 20 Barclays Premier League clubs, and, through green-screen technology, to picture themselves lifting the Barclays Premier League Trophy decorated with the ribbons of their favourite club.

• The Screening Zone: fans will experience the noise and excitement of matchday before learning about the winning teams and captains of the Premier League in an exclusive film.

• The Pitch Zone: there will be a mini-football pitch where Barclays Premier League clubs will be conducting skills sessions with local football teams, and there will be the chance for young fans to have a football match run by Premier League community coaches.

• The Skills Zone: three football skills pods for fans to test their close control and shooting power and accuracy.

• The Live Match Zone: the main arena where fans will watch the live Barclays Premier League on a giant 100 square meter screen, the biggest in South Africa.

Legends to attend BPL Live

As well as zones for food and beverages, Premier League sponsors and partners Barclays, EA Sports, Nike and Topps will have event stands, as will a number of clubs, including Cardiff City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland.

Legends of the Barclays Premier League will also be attending Barclays Premier League Live. Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler and Chelsea captain Marcel Desailly will be coming from the UK. Local legends will include Mark Fish and Lucas Radebe. Along with Phil Masinga, Radebe was the first South African to play in the Barclays Premier League. In addition to offering the crowds their pre and post-match insight on the live matches, the legends will be involved in signing sessions, coaching local children and will be visiting all the zones, Premier League partners and club stands over the weekend.

One South African starring in the Barclays Premier League at the moment is Steven Pienaar. The Everton midfielder grew up in Johannesburg and thinks fans there will love Barclays Premier League Live.

“It is fitting Barclays Premier League Live debuts in South Africa because SuperSport are our longest-standing international rights holder"
Richard Scudamore

“South African fans are very passionate about their football and this is a great way for them to watch the Barclays Premier League,” Pienaar said. “I am sure the people will embrace it and it will be another special sporting occasion in my country.”

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore called Barclays Premier League Live an “exciting way to engage with fans around the world” and will provide fans with the next best thing to being at the ground.

“It is very fitting that we are debuting Barclays Premier League Live in South Africa because SuperSport are our longest-standing international rights holder and have played a great role in bringing Premier League football to hundreds of millions of supporters right across sub-Saharan Africa,” Scudamore said.

David Wheldon, Barclays Managing Director of Brand, Reputation, Citizenship and Marketing, said that BPL Live was intrinsic to Barclays' campaign to thank fans around the world who support the Barclays Premier League in the right way.

“For us to be able to bring the first Barclays Premier League Live to South Africa, the home of our South African bank, Absa, and millions of Barclays Premier League fans, is the best way to thank thousands of South African supporters by making them feel part of this great competition,” he said.

Barclays Premier League Live will be an annual event and next season will head to the United States of America, before appearing in Asia during the 2015/16 season.

South African fans can keep up with the latest developments about Barclays Premier League Live at and on Twitter with updates from @premierleague and the hashtag #BPLLive

  • Everton's Steven Pienaar is a native of Johannesburg and has welcomed the event

  • Luacs Radebe, who will be at BPL Live, was one of the first South Africans in the Premier League

  • Robbie Fowler, left, and Mark Fish, here in action in 2003 will be attending the event

  • Former Chelsea player Marcel Desailly will be signing autographs for fans in Johannesburg

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Key Points

  • First Barclays Premier League fan park to be held in Johannesburg on 29-30 March
  • BPL Live will show matches and have events over the course of two days
  • Several Barclays Premier League legends to attend the event