Safa adamant PSL must resume only at level 1

Sihle Ndebele Journalist

As the Premier Soccer League (PSL) Board of Governors (BoG) convenes an urgent meeting today, where they're likely to finally announce their plan to conclude the campaign, SA Football Association (Safa) has reiterated the stance that football must only be played on level 1 of the national lockdown.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Safa chief doctor Thulani Ngwenya, who's also the association's Covid-19 compliance officer, maintained, as coronavirus cases are spiking, Safa would welcome the decision to delay restarting the season until the situation is better.

"I have always been clear in terms of the position of Safa that football can only return on level 1. That has always been our stance," Ngwenya said yesterday.

"However, we have to consider the issue of players' livelihood and contracts, hence the NSL [PSL] requested us to look at this matter thoroughly and also try and check if we can minimise risks by creating this biologically safe environment [BSE]."

In May, Safa and the PSL put their long-standing differences aside and formed a joint liaison committee (JLC) task team that convinced sports ministry to allow clubs to resume training, provided they meet stringent requirements and guidelines.

Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa emphasised in a letter sent to Safa president Danny Jordaan, that the association must be the one overseeing everything before training resumes.

However, the misunderstanding between the league and Safa prevailed once again when the latter appointed its own compliance officer in Michael Murphy.

Furthermore, PSL gave several clubs green light to restart training, apparently without Safa's knowledge this week.

Ngwenya said Safa had a meeting with the PSL scheduled for yesterday, aimed at clarifying the compliance officer issue. However, the PSL cancelled as they had to prepare for today's BoG.

"...Until we get a response from their meeting, we have to wait. We were planning to discuss the issue of compliance... remember now they have their own compliance officer, so we wanted to check how this will work out," Ngwenya said.

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