Tuesday Aug 04, 2020. 12:00
South African sports minister Nathi Mthethwa has warned that the impending restart of the 2019-20 Premier Soccer League (PSL) is “not a fait accompli”, with clubs urged to abide by the Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
The season, which has been suspended since March, is due to restart this coming Saturday, 8 August, with two Nedbank Cup semifinals, before the Absa Premiership (league) resumes fixtures next Tuesday, 11 August.
All matches will be played behind closed doors and take place in a ‘Biologically Safe Environment’ in Gauteng.
However, should players, coaches, officials and anyone else given approval to be a part of the ‘bio bubble’ fail to abide by the agreed regulations, the government will not hesitate to close down the restart, according to Mthethwa.
“It therefore means that those plans that they have submitted should be adhered to‚ it’s not a fait accompli that people will just get on the field and play‚” he explained, as quoted by Sowetan Live.
“They will play based on the plans which were submitted to the department and we reserve the right to halt any activity if we feel and think that those protocols and plans are not adhered to.
“We are pleased that the department of health has concurred with the proposal for football to return to completing the season behind closed doors in a Biologically Safe Environment‚ which is a closed environment of the procured hotels‚ the transport hubs‚ training grounds and stadiums.
“This is subject to the plans they have submitted and all other protocols as outlined in the regulations and directions published by the department.
“The compliance officers of both the SA Football Association (SAFA) and the Premier Soccer League will work together and ensure that all measures comply with the commitment made by the PSL in their submissions to government.
“We are expecting to receive the compliance officer’s report from SAFA on the state of readiness for the NSL to resume play.”
The Nedbank Cup semis scheduled for this Saturday will see Baroka FC and Bloemfontein Celtic meet in the first match, before Bidvest Wits take on Mamelodi Sundowns – both clashes will be held at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.