PSL still awaits on Mthethwa's word

Minister of sports, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa
Minister of sports, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa

The Premier Soccer League (PLS) is waiting on sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa to give the football body the green light for clubs to return to training.

The PSL was hoping that teams could return to the training fields as soon as yesterday, but then the minister had still not given approval.

After its executive committee meeting on Monday, the football body sent out a directive to member clubs to get ready for training to resume this week. However, acting CEO Mato Madlala said everyone had to wait for Mthethwa's confirmation.

"Please appreciate that no member club is permitted to return to training unless and until confirmation is received from the minister and the league has communicated to you that you are permitted to return to training," Madlala said.

Among the requirements clubs will have to meet before training can resume will be the appointment of a compliance officer.

Also as part of Covid-19 precautions, teams will also have to regularly screen players, sanitise their training facilities, purchasing PPEs (personal protective equipment) and to follow other coronavirus-related protocols.

Clubs are quietly preparing themselves. The PSL has also instructed clubs to refrain from speaking with the media on these matters.

A club official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said clubs have their work cut out for them in following the Covid-19 guidelines.

"Clubs will have to spend money to be on the right side of regulations. Remember, many clubs are struggling financially at the moment, so many will find themselves in the red," the insider said.

"It will not be cheap to implement all these changes. Clubs have been busy behind the scenes identifying compliance officers and so on."

The PSL is running out of time in their attempt to finish the season by the deadline of July 31. There are 54 games remaining in the Absa Premiership and 50 games left in the GladAfrica Championship.

Attempts to contact the office of the minister proved futile. Spokesperson Masechaba Khumalo asked Sowetan to send questions via email and no response was forthcoming.

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