PSL bio-bubble geared for 'project restart', says Khoza
JOHANNESBURG - The Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza says they’ve not left any stone unturned in ensuring a fruitful resumption of the season, stressing that irregularities that may develop will not be due to poor planning.
The domestic professional football season will resume in a bio-bubble in Gauteng, following a five-month hiatus due to the pandemic.
The establishment of the biological safe environment (BSE) was done to prioritise the health and safety of everyone: clubs, officials, broadcasters and sponsors.
As part of the protocols before assembling in the bubble stakeholders twice underwent compulsory Covid-19 tests; before returning to training and 48 hours prior to going into the BSE.
The Nedbank Cup semi-finalists, Baroka FC, Bloemfontein Celtic, Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits, who’ll get project restart under way today at Orlando Stadium, were given the green light to assemble in the bubble.
This was a promising start, especially after Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa vowed that should health and safety measures be compromised he won’t hesitate to pull the plug on the operation.
Khoza is optimistic it won’t come to that, saying the guidelines put in place by the compliance officers of the PSL and South African Football Association are water-tight - everyone just has to comply.
“The magnitude and demand for compliance is heavy for all the teams,” Khoza said. “During the Board of Governors (BoG) meeting that we’ve had six to seven times, one important thing that was emphasised was, ‘compliance, compliance, compliance’. What was key in that was observing the issues of health.”
He continued: “We are unfortunately dealing with a health situation that nobody can figure out in a way that we can plan for. It’s a moving target. So, we’ve done everything humanly possible (to ensure that the health of everyone is prioritised).
“If anything happens beyond what we’ve planned for, then we’ll have to take the consequences. But if it’s within the workshopped plan with all the clubs, BoGs, compliance officers, then we’ve done our best,” Khoza said.
“And that’s why when we applied, the health department admired our plan that is unique and will likely mitigate the risk that we now know. Those that we don’t know, we cannot plan for that. But we are hoping nothing happens and we play to the finish line.”
Meanwhile Khoza confirmed that the off-season transfer window is scheduled to run from September 2 until October 17, while the mid-season transfer window is set for February 1 until March 1. The new season is scheduled to commence on October 9.