Sport Minister Nathi Mthethwa has appealed to Safa and the PSL for advice regarding the resumption of football in SA. Photo: BackpagePix
Sport Minister Nathi Mthethwa has appealed to Safa and the PSL for advice regarding the resumption of football in SA. Photo: BackpagePix

Let’s hope Mthethwa is on the ball

By Herman Gibbs Time of article published May 6, 2020

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CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has appealed to Safa and the PSL for “counsel” regarding the matter of the resumption of football in SA.

The government is prohibited from intervening in football matters and when that has happened in the past, football’s global governing body Fifa has routinely punished countries. Fifa have without fail sent out tough warnings to politicians and governments to stay out of football affairs.

There is one difference now because of the coronavirus. The government’s lockdown levels impact on the decisions taken by SA football. There are also a host of health concerns which government will highlight, and which football must address before the game is resumed, with or without spectators. 

Given the fractured history between Safa and the PSL in the past, Mthethwa is not helping the situation by mentioning the two bodies in the same breath. The PSL is a member of Safa, SA’s sole football controlling body.

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The past happenings in SA football have often painted a picture of the tail wagging the dog. It has given rise to the notion that the PSL is more powerful than their mother body Safa.

Mthethwa is adding to this malaise by engaging with the PSL directly. The minister should be doing what Fifa does, and Safa should be his first port of call when he needs “counsel” on SA football matters. By repeatedly engaging with the PSL, Mthethwa is offside and should be red-carded.

Now is also the time for Safa to take the lead and convene a meeting of the joint liaison committee (JLC). This is the forum established for joint meetings between Safa and the PSL.

It is precisely this lack of initiative by Safa that has Mthethwa unwittingly addressing the PSL as the fellow voice of national football.

Given the eerie silence from Safa, Mthethwa can kickstart the process by addressing his next comment directly to Safa only. This line of action will also serve to remind the PSL that whatever decisions are taken at their scheduled board of governors meeting, must be presented to the national body before it can take effect.

Let’s hope Mthethwa is on the ball right now.

@Herman_Gibbs


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