Safa, PSL hold talks on the way forward

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza and Safa president Danny Jordaan are set to hold talks over the future of this season.
PSL chairman Irvin Khoza and Safa president Danny Jordaan are set to hold talks over the future of this season.
Image: Martin Rhodes

The PSL and Safa will today hold crucial talks on how to conclude the season, brought to a halt by coronavirus, after the league submitted proposals to government last week.

It will be the first time the two organisations, led by Irvin Khoza and Danny Jordaan, meet over the issue nearly two months after football was stopped - to try and find each other after they spent weeks contradicting one another.

The PSL's proposals include playing matches behind closed doors once government has lowered Covid-19 risk to level 3, but Safa has repeatedly said no football would be possible before Level 1.

While the PSL has sent the proposals to sports minister Nathi Mthethwa's office, government is looking for a solid document approved by both Safa and the league, hence today's attempt to find common ground after weeks of pointless rhetoric and no action.

"The minister's position is clear: both Safa and PSL must speak with one voice. They must agree on the way forward and come to the minister," stated sports ministry's Mickey Modisane yesterday.

Whether Safa and PSL will find that united voice is another matter, but the mother body is adamant no football can be possible in the immediate future. But a source sympathetic to PSL said it would be foolhardy to wait for risk levels to drop before resuming action.

"How would it be possible to wait that long when we are on level 4 now?" the source asked. "Safa forgets that the PSL is a day-to-day business. It's not like the national team where you play on Fifa weekends. If you get to level 1 only in September, how would teams have paid the players from now until then?"

The PSL usually receives its sponsorship funds from June every year but, with all the uncertainty, it is unclear if the league would get any money next month. Last year, MultiChoice gave the league R600m, while Absa (R136m), Telkom (R57m), MTN and Nedbank (R80m), as well as development league MDC (R42m) saw the league's coffers swell to over R1bn for the first time.

Sponsorship revenue traditionally increases every year based on inflation, but lack of value due to the current hiatus could be detrimental to PSL.

Of the PSL's proposals submitted to government, ending the season with the current standings hasn't been suggested. "That's not an option. Everyone agrees that the season must play to a finish. We won't be crowning champions based on an incomplete season," a club owner said.

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