Nathi Mthethwa
Nathi Mthethwa

The PSL can be concluded in a 'biological safe environment'

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published Jun 2, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - The Joint Liaison Committee (JLC) of the South African Football Association (Safa) and their special member, the National Soccer League, have welcomed the unanimous decision by the JLC-appointed task team, which says professional football activities can resume under a “massive single camp”.

With the domestic season having come to a complete halt on March 15 following the outbreak of Covid-19, three weeks ago the JLC selected a task team, which consists of members from both parties, to come up with recommendations about safe and professional protocols to resume football.

Yesterday, a week after their deadline, the task team finally reverted back to the JLC, saying that for the domestic season to conclude, all 32 teams in the PSL - 16 in the Absa Premiership and 16 in the GladAfrica Championship - have to be based in a monitored “biological safe environment for the duration of the season”.

“Yes, that (the decision of hosting a national camp) is what we’ve agreed to,” Safa head of medical Thulani Ngwenya said.

“Everyone who goes into the biological safe environment cannot leave. So it’s going to be like your Olympic Games style (athletes village) where everyone is kept in one place.

“The teams will train and play at the allocated venues, and they’ll then return to the biological environment.

“We’ll be doing daily screening. That’s basically the protocol (that the task team has come up with). But these will not only apply to the players, but to the residences at the camp as well.”

Although minister of sports, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa was also part of the JLC proceedings yesterday, Safa are still expected to send the proposal to the minister’s office, considering that the South African government will give the final verdict on the matter based on health and transport recommendations.

On Saturday, Mthethwa declared that non-contact sport can fully resume during level 3 of the national lockdown, while contact sport such as rugby and football can begin training.

Ngwenya says that although teams will be permitted to begin training at their facilities in small groups before assembling as a full squad, they’ll have to undergo protocols including Covid-19 screening and testing.

“In terms of training, we’ve agreed that if the letter is sent today and is approved by the government, then teams can start training. But they’ll have to be screened and tested for underlying conditions first before they can start training wherever they are,” Ngwenya explained.

Safa and the PSL are still set to decide on the date - and duration - for the resumption of football.


@Mihlalibaleka

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