Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: GCIS
Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: GCIS

Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa has issued a strong warning to the Premier Soccer League (PSL), saying he will not hesitate to stop the season in its tracks if the clubs fail to follow the approved Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

The season resumes with the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup on Saturday, and Mthethwa said an internal monitoring team has been on the ground. He said the teams have taken the necessary measures to comply with the plans the PSL and SA Football Association (Safa) have submitted to the government.

“It therefore means that those plans they have submitted should be adhered to. It’s not a fait accompli that people will just get on the field and play‚” he said.

“They will play based on the plans which were submitted to the department and we reserve the right to halt any activity if we think those protocols and plans are not adhered to.

“We are pleased 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 Nedbank Cup semifinals will see Baroka FC face Bloemfontein Celtic and Mamelodi Sundowns tackle Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

The league will swing back into action on Tuesday with the crunch clash between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Dobsonville Stadium.

Mthethwa also confirmed a second wave of Covid-19 relief funding will be available to athletes‚ coaches and technical support personnel on events-based income.

“Those who qualify for the sport relief are athletes‚ coaches and technical support personnel who rely solely on income generated from participating in sport competitions or events‚” he said.

“Applications must provide proof of having earned income from national and international competitions in the past. Possible consideration to be given to personal trainers who operate as freelancers‚ unemployed and not operating as small businesses.”

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.