The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is yet to release the full fixture list for the new season and they are not in a hurry to issue the full block of league matches.
PSL acting chief executive Mato Madlala told Independent Media that they are still waiting for clubs to come back to them before they can announce the full fixtures for the 2019/20 season.
The league has so far only issued the list of the first league games. The season kicks off on August 3 with a clash between reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns and rookies Stellenbosch FC.
“Our process is as follows: we draft the fixtures and issue them to the clubs for confirmation of the dates. They have to check the availability of the venues that they will be using,” Madlala explained.
“We don’t want to be in a situation where we are changing fixtures during the season. The clubs have to double check if the venues they are using have the safety certificates.
“They have to confirm and report back to us about the availability of the venues on the fixtures we have given them. It is something that is not quick to do.”
The PSL recently raised the prize money for the league winners. The champions will pocket R15 million instead of R10 million that they have been receiving over the years.
“We’ve given the clubs a deadline. They have responded and others are still meeting (with stakeholders). Others still have questions, like for an example, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns - they play the first and the second round in January. The two games are 11 days apart if I’m not mistaken. They are asking, what we can do in that situation. It is such things that have to be reviewed and resolutions must be reached. We have to engage them because both teams are asking. So, they are in that process and they are trying to sort that out.
“I don’t want to say we’ve given them until Monday but we will keep on engaging each other," she added.
A lot of changes were made last season in the fixture list, mainly because of Pirates and Sundowns’ involvement in the CAF Champions League.
“The process of handing out fixtures has different phases.
“This is the first stage. We issue fixtures to the teams and then they come back to us and say give us this and that. We then sit down and discuss concerns from the clubs and then issue another draft. We don’t want to rush and say it is final.
“When we change the fixtures, the media will be the first people to complain. We get insults, people saying we don’t know what we are doing. You call us mickey mouse. We have to make sure that we know what we are doing," Madlala elaborated.
The 2019/20 season is scheduled to kick off in four weeks.
It also seems that poor organisation in the continental football body, CAF, has not helped the South African league administrators.
Sundowns and Pirates are in the Champions League while Bidvest Wits and First Division outfit TS Galaxy will represent South Africa in the CAF Confederations Cup, the tournament for the winners of the premier domestic knockout competition.
“At the moment we don’t have the CAF dates. We are trying to push CAF to give us the indication.
“We only know the weekends but we don’t know the exact details. We have to know where are they playing,” Madlala concluded.