PSL chair Irvin Khoza has called for a media conference on Monday when he is expected to outline the details of their readiness to resume the season. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
PSL chair Irvin Khoza has called for a media conference on Monday when he is expected to outline the details of their readiness to resume the season. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

There is tension in local soccer after the SA Football Association (Safa) insisted there will be no football played in the country until the Premier Soccer League (PSL) has complied with the health and safety directives of the joint liaison committee.

The PSL is preparing to restart the season at 11 venues in Johannesburg and Pretoria after months of coronavirus-enforced inactivity‚ but Safa is adamant football cannot resume in a Covid-19 hotspot such as Johannesburg.

The sport’s mother body also argues that referees will not be ready to officiate as they have not been tested and have not undergone physical training.

The governing body has insisted that football can restart in mid to late August.

Safa also argued that the PSL has ignored the call by sports minister Nathi Mthethwa‚ who pointed out in the recently updated government gazette that the mother body must play an overarching role in ensuring compliance with the safety protocols.

After their marathon board of governors meeting on Thursday‚ PSL acting CEO Mato Madlala wrote to Safa informing them of their decision to restart the season and confirming training venues.

“I write to inform you that the board of governors of the league met yesterday to determine training and playing venues‚ and the date to return to match play in a biologically safe environment‚” said Madlala in her letter, that Safa did not take kindly to.

In response‚ Safa acting CEO Tebogo Motlanthe told the PSL that they are surprised by the contents of their letter which they say is against the spirit of the directives of the joint liaison committee.

“The unilateral confirmation of training venues and the date for resumption of play on July 18 2020 by the NSL is against the spirit of our meeting and the resolutions of the joint liaison committee.

“Sadly‚ it also undermines minister Nathi Mthethwa’s directive that the association should play an overarching role in this matter. I wish to reiterate that two crucial factors we outlined in the meeting‚ namely‚ that we are committed to the resumption of play under safe conditions wherein the safety of players‚ team officials‚ match officials and other participants is not compromised.

“Secondly‚ that the reasons outlined at the meeting and in the presentation I have since sent you‚ it is not practical to expect the resumption of play before  August 1 2020.”

Motlanthe added that administration‚ mobilisation‚ group training and conditioning of match officials cannot be done in haste.

“It must be executed meticulously and with due regard for Caf and Fifa prescripts. This is in addition to the prerogative to respect the processes outlined by government‚” he said, adding they are looking forward to their meeting with the PSL on Monday.

PSL chair Irvin Khoza has called for a media conference on Monday when he is expected to outline the details of their readiness to resume the season.

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