The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has set up a task force that will work hand-in-hand with the executive committee to look at when football in the country will resume. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has set up a task force that will work hand-in-hand with the executive committee to look at when football in the country will resume. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Safety first approach by PSL

By Bonginkosi Ndadane Time of article published Mar 20, 2020

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The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has set up a task force that will work hand-in-hand with the executive committee to look at when football in the country will resume.

The beautiful game has been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration that no more than 100 people can gather.

There was a glimmer of hope that football could continue after Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa jumped the gun and said that the PSL could continue with their programme behind closed doors.

But that has been proven to be unsafe in terms of the spread of the virus.

The South African Football Association (Safa) moved quickly to snuff that idea by announcing that football in the country remains suspended, and if the PSL wanted to continue they wouldn’t issue them referees.

“We had a long deliberation on a matter that is complex,” PSL chairman Irvin Khoza said yesterday.

“The NSL (National Soccer League) values the life of our people. We view the health and safety of the players, staff and stakeholders as paramount.

“Our intention is to complete the season by no later than 30 June 2020, but because of the existing uncertainties in our country we shall remain flexible.

“The board of governors has mandated the executive committee, assisted by the appointed task team, to take all possible measures to ensure that the NSL’s league resumes in compliance with the directive issued by the state president, with the support and alignment with the national government.”

Khoza continued: “This follows a meeting that was held today (yesterday) and yesterday (Wednesday) with the minister of sport, arts and culture and further consultation that we had at this meeting with the ministers of health and safety and security.

“At this point in time, as the board of governors we endeavour to make sure that the compliance issue are complied with as a matter of urgency, thereafter the executive committee will report to the board of governors for the league to resume,” he said.

The suspension of the league will have some financial impact to the league and the clubs as it’s still uncertain when the league will resume and if this season will even be finished.

“The unfortunate part is that we are a business and we are affected by all other businesses,” Khoza said.

“We couldn’t quantify the issue of money at this point; the important thing was to deal with the issue of safety because what is happening in the country - there’s no benchmark.

“Therefore, it is very important to think about that first. To say how best can we protect ourselves, before we even deal about the consequences of the losses we might suffer because of the virus is so strong as it is in other parts of the world, we might not be there to enjoy the benefits of what we are hoping to protect.

“The objective now is how we stay healthy, how do the players stay healthy and how the service providers stay safe in terms of broadcasters.

“If we don’t act responsibly, the economy will collapse and where will you do business if there is no human capital? The important thing is to concentrate on the human capital and ensure that we do our bit.”

Bonginkosi Ndadane

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