Safa and PSL to finally meet for the first time since the national lockdown was declared

Safa president Danny Jordaan.
Safa president Danny Jordaan.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

The South Africa Football Association (Safa) and Premier Soccer League (PSL) will finally meet on Tuesday for the first time since the national lockdown was declared in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) to try to find common ground on their standpoint regarding a return to play of the sport.

Safa president Danny Jordaan said the mother body and professional league will try to establish a “single position” to take to Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa‚ as was requested last week by the minister from the often at-odds bodies.

The PSL suspended matches on March 16‚ and remains shut down due to the lockdown‚ with government regulations indicating professional sport would only return at level one (currently SA is at level four).

Safa has made public its view that football should only return at level one. The PSL‚ anxious to avoid a financial catastrophe‚ has been seeking solutions for a return at an earlier level.

The joint liaison committee (JLC) between Safa and the PSL‚ which had not met since before the start of the lockdown on March 27‚ will now meet on Tuesday.

“We put our position in writing that we believe that football should only resume at level one based on two medical opinions‚ and also based on what we’ve observed in terms of the Fifa position where Fifa medical chief Michel D'Hooghe said football can only resume after September‚” Jordaan told a Zoom press conference of the SA Football Journalists Association (Safja).

“ … We sent our proposal to the PSL because we said‚ ‘Look‚ ultimately‚ and Fifa recognises it‚ it is the government that must say that yes‚ football must start’.

“ … We submitted our proposal to the government and the PSL. The PSL [on Thursday] had a meeting.

“And we agreed that on Tuesday‚ we will have a joint liaison committee meeting where both these viewpoints [Safa and the PSL’s] will be placed on the table.

“We’ve asked that our doctor‚ Dr [Thulani] Ngwenya [Safa’s chief medical officer]‚ consult with all the team doctors of the PSL clubs‚ and consolidate his position.

“We’ve also asked him to speak to Dr Karim [Professor Salim Abdool Karim]‚ who is one of the medical advisors of the government‚ so that we can have all the facts on the table.

“And we hope to have a single position to go to government.”

Jordaan said football cannot afford to have a disunited position.

“You can imagine the Minister of Sport goes to the cabinet and makes a presentation – for example‚ for golf he made a single presentation‚ rugby single‚ cricket single; football two presentations. It’s not possible.

“So we said‚ ‘No‚ let''s have a meeting and have a single positon’‚ so that the minister is not confronted with a problem that is not his.

“As Safa and the PSL we must meet and consolidate‚ and give the minister a single position to place before cabinet. And that is what I hope the outcome will be tomorrow.”

The PSL’s executive committee met on Thursday to receive a report-back from a task team mandated with exploring the conditions necessary for closed-doors football and discuss the possibilities for a resumption of play.