PSL wants to restart football 'urgently' to avoid retrenchments
DURBAN - Gauteng won the race to host the bio bubble because of the plethora of stadiums and possible training facilities within its borders, Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman, Irvin Khoza said on Monday.
Gauteng, North West and KwaZulu-Natal were all in the race to host the remaining Premiership and Championship matches in a "bio-bubble". But Gauteng's infrastructure was the logical choice for the league to host the teams, despite the province's confirmed Covid-19 cases spiking over the last few weeks.
"When we submitted our plans to the government, it was a Board of Governors resolution that we were going to play all the games in Gauteng and North West. We did receive a very good pitch from KwaZulu-Natal, which was considered by the task team. But the PSL has decided to pick Gauteng because of the advantages it provides," Khoza said.
Milpark, Fourways High, Johannesburg Stadium, TUT Stadium, Chris Hani Stadium, Auckland Park Bunting, Marks Park, Germiston Stadium, Voolsrus Stadium, Loftus Versfeld, University of Pretoria and St Stithians have all been identified as training venues.
The game will take place FNB Stadium, Orlando Stadium, Bidvest Stadium, Rand Stadium, Ellis Park, Makhulong Stadium, Loftus Versfeld, Ellis Park, Lucas Moripe Stadium, Tsakane Stadium and University of Pretoria.
The PSL was planning on rebooting the season on Saturday, July 18 and finishing on August 3. However, that start seems optimistic, as they need to get the green light from the South African Football Association (Safa).
Irvin Khoza says they want to get the league up and running as soon as possible to avoid job losses, because of the loss of income. The clubs, especially, are feeling the pinch and some have applied for money from the UIF-relief fund over the last few months.
"There was a meeting that took place between us and the minister of labour, giving advice about how to go with the matters of UIF. A few clubs did apply for that. The unfortunate part is that from the 30th of June, that will be the last time the club will get the grant if nothing happens beyond this time," Khoza said.
"The sponsors, especially the broadcaster, for the last four months, they have allowed us to pay and we paid without even asking questions what are we getting in return. That's why is it so urgent for us to start. Beyond the 30th of June, we won't be able to give clubs, the grant if it happens (that there no action). That's means there will retrenchment. That is the reality of the situation," he added.
The league was reaching its climax when it was halted by this pandemic. Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns were battling for the supremacy, while AmaZulu, Polokwane, Baroka FC and Black Leopards were all fighting for survival at the bottom of the league.
"It's been stressful to the clubs. We want to thank Fifa for allowing us to engage players. We hope that sooner rather than later, we will resuming the action and make the stress lesser for the clubs." Khoza said.