Sports minister Mthethwa warns PSL he will stop season in its tracks if clubs fail to follow Covid-19 protocols

03 August 2020 - 14:56
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has also opened applications for a second wave for Covid-19 relief funds.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has also opened applications for a second wave for Covid-19 relief funds.

Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa has issued a strong warning to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and stated that he will not hesitate to stop the season in its tracks if the clubs fail to follow the approved Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

The season resumes with the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup on Saturday and Mthethwa said an internal monitoring team has been on the ground.

He said the teams have taken the necessary measures to comply with the plans that the PSL and the South African Football Association (Safa) have submitted to government.

“It therefore means that those plans that they have submitted should be adhered to‚ it’s not a fait accompli that people will just get on the field and play‚" he said.

"They will play based on the plans which were submitted to the department and we reserve the right to halt any activity if we feel and think that those protocols and plans are not adhered to.

“We are pleased that the department of health has concurred with the proposal for football to return to completing the season behind closed doors in a Biologically Safe Environment (BSE)‚ which is a closed environment of the procured hotels‚ the transport hubs‚ training grounds and stadiums.

“This is subject to the plans they have submitted and all other protocols as outlined in the regulations and directions published by the department.

"The compliance officers of both the SA Football Association and the Premier Soccer League will work together and ensure that all measures comply with the commitment made by the PSL in their submissions to government.

"We are expecting to receive the compliance officer’s report from Safa on the state of readiness for the NSL to resume play.”

The Nedbank Cup semifinals will see Baroka FC face Bloemfontein Celtic‚ and Mamelodi Sundowns tackle Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

The league will swing back into action on Tuesday with the crunch clash between Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Dobsonville Stadium.

Mthethwa also confirmed a second wave of Covid-19 relief funding that is going to be available to athletes‚ coaches and technical support personnel on events-based income.

“Those who qualify for the sport relief are athletes‚ coaches and technical support personnel who rely solely on income generated from participating in sport competitions or events‚" he said.

"Applications must provide proof of having earned income from national and international competitions in the past.

"Possible consideration to be given to personal trainers who operate as freelancers‚ unemployed and not operating as small businesses.”