Covid-19 testing a big PSL headache

Thiago Alcantara,Alvaro Odriozola and Lucas Hernandez wear face masks as they arrive for a Bayern Munich training session yesterday.
Thiago Alcantara,Alvaro Odriozola and Lucas Hernandez wear face masks as they arrive for a Bayern Munich training session yesterday.
Image: Christof STACHE / AFP

As the Premier Soccer League (PSL) looks to complete the remaining games of the season, the organisation is facing a huge medical bill for the regular testing of players for coronavirus.

The PSL, Safa and the ministry of sports, arts and culture have been engaging on a possible deal for games to return and it is widely understood that the regular testing of players will be a key requirement.

Each team in the Absa Premiership and GladAfrica Championship has on average seven games remaining to finish the 2019/20 season.

According to the PSL, there are 889 registered players with 480 in the Premiership and 409 in the Championship. The cost of a single Covid-19 test is R850.

This means if all the 889 players were to be tested it would cost roughly R755,650 overall. In Spain's La Liga, players are being tested every day while the proposal in the English Premier League is to test players three times a week.

In South Africa, if each of the 889 players were to be tested 10 times, for example, the PSL would incur a cost of R7.5m.

In an interview with Sowetan last week, head of medical at the PSL, sports physician Lervasen Pillay, explained: "About a month ago government standardised the cost of the Covid-19 test and it costs R850 in the private laboratories."

Earlier this week, PSL and Safa formed a task team that has been given a mandate to draw-up a plan for when professional football can make a return.

The six-member task team is expected to formulate a plan that will focus on ensuring the health and safety of footballers and all involved.

The members of the task team include Pillay, advocate Tebogo Motlanthe (Safa acting CEO), Mato Madlala (PSL acting CEO), Dr Thulani Ngwenya (Safa chief medical officer) and Jose Ferreira (PSL executive committee member).

Other than regular testing, other measures being considered include that the remaining games be played at one or two stadiums - behind closed doors.

Madlala could not been reached for comment yesterday as her phone rang unanswered.

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