'Not practical to expect resumption of PSL before August' - Safa
JOHANNESBURG - “We are not home and dry yet.”
The Premier Soccer League’s press conference on Monday could be centred along these lines after their immediate proposal to resume football this weekend was dismissed by the South African Football Association.
PSL chairman Irvin Khoza is scheduled to address the media and public at 12pm today, but there is still clearly a lot of turbulence between the PSL and Safa as to when exactly the season can restart.
On Friday, the PSL acting chief executive Mato Madlala sent out a detailed letter to Safa’s acting chief executive Tebogo Motlanthe, informing him of the decision by the league’s Board of Governors (BoG) during their meeting on Thursday, when they determined “training and 11 playing venues, and date to return to match play in the biologically safe environment”.
Gauteng was determined as the venue to host the biological bubble, while matches were set to resume as early as July 18, Saturday, the letter added.
But Safa was having none of it, reminding the PSL of their unanimous agreement during the Joint Liaison Committee (JLC) meeting earlier in the day (Friday).
“I would like to express utter surprise at the contents of the letter, coming as it does only a few hours after we agreed at our meeting today (at the request of the NSL) that we cannot conduct any substantive deliberations due to absence of Mr Murphy due to ill health,” said Motlanthe in his response in a letter seen by IOL Sport.
“The unilateral confirmation of training venues and date for resumption on 18 July 2020 by NSL is against the spirit of our meeting and resolution of the Joint Liaison Committee. Sadly, it also undermines Minister (of Sport) Nathi Mathethwa’s directive that the association should play an overarching role in this matter.”
The League will advise on other live platforms in due course. pic.twitter.com/1TnHhXJh0H
— Official PSL (@OfficialPSL)
In recent weeks, Murphy, who’s the PSL compliance officer, has been hard at work, seeing to it that the 32 PSL teams undergo all the necessary coronavirus testing protocols before returning to training ahead of the proposed restart.
In the proposal of the biological safe environment, there were pre-mandatory tests that had to be taken before training resumes. But it was also in bold that immediately after those tests were done all stakeholders had to be taken away from the society and go into quarantine for at least 14 days before assembling in the massive camp.
With clubs still training on their own, and no direction of where the massive camp will be held in Gauteng, which is now the epicentre of the pandemic, Safa says football can only resume after August 1 - three weeks from now.
“I wish to reiterate two critical factors we outlined at the meeting today (Friday): that we are committed to the resumption of play under safe conditions wherein the safety of players, team officials, match officials and other participants is not compromised,” Motlanthe stated.
“Secondly, that for the reasons outlined at the meeting and in the presentation, I have since sent you, it is not practical to expect resumption of play before 1 August.”
Motlanthe went on to remind the PSL about the paramount importance of ensuring that match officials also have to undergo the testing protocols - something that will take more than a week for successful execution.
“It is for this reason that we agreed to invite the management of the referees’ department to our next meeting to outline their project timelines, which will then enable all of us to take informed, responsible decisions,” he explained.