Sun City Resort in the North West province has emerged as a strong contender to house all the top-flight and lower-tier clubs in a huge single camp as part of a proposed plan by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to complete the season that was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic in March.
The majority of the top-flight clubs have six matches remaining in the campaign and three insiders close to developments told Business Day that the popular holiday destination is viewed as a possible venue to accommodate all 32 clubs — the 16 Absa Premiership and 16 GladAfrica Championship (second tier).
The plan will be proposed to the government and the matches could be played in July if it is given the green light.
The insiders said Sun City has emerged as a strong favourite as it is located in a secluded area that could be controlled and modelled into a safe environment.
The nearby stadiums — Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Olympia Park and the Moruleng Stadium — offer the PSL three venues that could host matches.
North West has no shortage of options as it is also home to the Royal Marang Hotel, a world-class facility that has training grounds, medical suites and gymnasium. England used the facility as their base during the 2010 World Cup.
The insiders said a verification process will be conducted to check if there are enough beds and training facilities at Sun City for all the teams.
“The good thing about Rustenburg is that you can drive from Johannesburg to Pretoria and they have three stadiums that meet PSL standards. You have to treat this whole thing like the World Cup because there must be enough accommodation, training grounds and stadiums to accommodate all the 32 teams,” the insider said.
Plan B is to house all the teams at hotels in Johannesburg and possibly Pretoria where there will be no issues with training grounds and stadiums.
Johannesburg has FNB Stadium, Orlando Stadium, Rand Stadium, Bidvest Stadium and Makhulong Stadium while Pretoria has Lucas Moripe Stadium and Loftus Stadium, venues that are used for Premiership and Championship matches.
“If Sun City does not pass, Sandton can host most if not all the teams because you have hotels there and you can look elsewhere around Johannesburg if more capacity is needed,” another insider said.
“The only issue with Sandton is that there have been a number of reported coronavirus cases in the area.
“The plan is to have all the teams in one camp where stringent health and safety protocols are followed to the letter because that is the most important thing for everyone who is going to be involved.”
Another plan is to have all the GladAfrica Championship teams housed elsewhere in Gauteng or in Limpopo which has the new and old Peter Mokaba stadiums that are situated next to each other.
When Business Day contacted acting PSL CEO Mato Madlala for comment on Monday, she said she did not know anything about the plan and referred all questions to PSL chair Irvin Khoza. But Khoza could not be reached on his phone.
Sun City said it has not been contacted by the PSL.