The Premier Soccer League (PSL) and National First Division (NFD) clubs may have returned to training prematurely after it emerged on Monday that the health and safety compliance protocols were not approved by the SA Football Association (Safa).    

After sports minister Nathi Mthethwa granted permission for non-contact and contact sport training to resume in June‚ most of the clubs conducted their first round of Covid-19 testing. This was followed by a return to training, but it has emerged that this was done without the knowledge of the sport’s mother body, Safa.

The situation has led to confusion. According to a letter written by Mthethwa to Safa president Danny Jordaan on Sunday‚ the mother body is expected to play a key role in ensuring compliance by the clubs.

“It will be expected that Safa plays the overarching role in ensuring compliance with the directions through their appointed compliance officers‚” Mthethwa said in his letter to Jordaan.

Mthethwa’s letter further stated: “The PSL has been advised to submit its plans to Safa. On receipt of such plans‚ we will appreciate if those plans are quality assured and submitted to the department to prepare its monitoring plan.

“Safa is further requested to provide the department with its detailed compliance monitoring plan of how its compliance team will monitor the PSL activities as well as any other football activities that will resume under the lockdown. The details should include names of compliance monitoring teams‚ dates‚ venues‚ times and clubs to be visited.”

Business Day contacted Safa chief medical officer Thulani Ngwenya on Monday to get further clarity on the matter. He said  they are meeting the PSL this week to map a way forward.

“On Wednesday there is a meeting between the PSL compliance officer‚ the CEO and the Safa compliance officers and its chief executive. From that meeting‚ we will map out the way forward‚” said Ngwenya‚ who was supposed to have monitored and given approval on whether the PSL and the NFD clubs have complied with the health and safety regulations to resume training or not.

Contacted on Monday to comment on the contents of Mthethwa’s letter‚ PSL acting CEO Mato Madlala said she had not seen the correspondence between Jordaan and the minister. “I haven’t seen the letter and I can’t comment on something that I have not seen‚” she said.

Madlala said the teams that have resumed training met the health and safety regulations set out by the government.

Mthethwa said last week he would assemble a team of experts to be part of the monitoring and enforcement by the clubs and it is believed  they will be starting their work in Cape Town this week.


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