Fifa aiming to finish current season on a positive note
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The Federation of International Football Association (Fifa) is working on putting measures in place to ensure that the 2019/20 season is finished with little disturbances as possible after the coronavirus wreaked havoc.
Covid-19, as the virus is officially known, has led to the suspension of numerous leagues across the world as well as cancellation of international football matches that were meant to be played in late March and early April. The Premier Soccer League (PSL) was also affected by the virus that claimed its first casualties in South Africa yesterday - on the first day of the 21-day national lockdown that was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Department of Health announced two casualties yesterday with the number of people who have tested positive for the virus surpassing 1000.
The lockdown will end on April 16, and it’s still unclear when normality will return to the country - including domestic football that has been suspended indefinitely.
PSL chairman, Irvin Khoza, said that the organisation had appointed a task-team that will look into when football can return. That task-team will report to the Executive Committee who will in turn relay the message to the Board of Governors for a way forward. Before the lockdown, there was a declaration by the President that prohibited gatherings of more than 100 people. All of this - the lockdown and no more than 100 people gatherings - has had a negative impact on the PSL.
It’s still unclear when the season will resume and whether it will finish.
Ideally, the PSL would like to finish the season by 30 June but they said they are flexible. If the league stretches beyond June 30, it will have an impact on players’ contracts as July 1 would be the beginning of new contracts for those who signed pre-contracts and those whose previous deals would have ended the day before. Fifa is working on addressing this with their proposals that include, “where an agreement is due to expire at the original end date of a season such expiry be extended until the new end date of the season” and “where an agreement is due to commence at the original start date of a new season such commencement be delayed until the new start date of a new season”.
“This is an unprecedented situation for football. There has not been a similar shutdown of organised football since World War II,” Fifa said in a working document as they are yet to finalise the matter.
“As a caretaker of football Fifa has a responsibility and mandate to provide appropriate guidance and recommendations to member associations and their stakeholders to both mitigate the consequences of disruptions caused by Covid-19 and ensure that any response is harmonised in the common interest.”
The organisation is still debating these issues and no final decision has been made as yet. But should these proposals be passed, they will ease the confusion around players’ contractual obligations and where they stand in a campaign that has been heavily disturbed by the virus with the picture still not clear on when normality will return in football.