PSL chairman Khoza fires warning: ‘Compromising the BSE will insult the country’

Irvin Khoza (chairman) of the PSL during the Premier Soccer League press conference at PSL Headquarters on April 09, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Irvin Khoza (chairman) of the PSL during the Premier Soccer League press conference at PSL Headquarters on April 09, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza has fired a warning that “nobody must compromise the BSE”‚ and said if anyone does they will be “insulting the whole country”.

Khoza addressed a televised press conference on Friday where he broke down the circumstances for Saturday’s return to professional football five months after it was suspended due to Covid-19 in mid-March‚ with Saturday’s Nedbank Cup semifinal double-header at Orlando Stadium.

Khoza was asked‚ baring in mind Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has reserved the right to pull the plug on the PSL’s approved return in closed-doors matches in the Gauteng bio-safe environment (BSE)‚ how the league would ensure everything goes to plan.

“I think the magnitude and the demand for compliance is heavy to most of the teams‚” Khoza said.

“We’ve had the Board of Governors [32 PSL teams] in our meetings six or seven times emphasising one important thing: compliance‚ compliance‚ compliance.

“But what was key in that compliance was to observe the issues of health. Because unfortunately we are dealing with a health situation and nobody can figure out how it affects us in a way‚ or two‚ or three‚ or four‚ that we can plan for – it’s a moving target.

“So therefore we have done everything humanly possible. And that is why we are the only industry in this country that‚ when we go back to work‚ we have gone for all this necessary testing.

“We have planned for this. If anything happens beyond what we have planned for we will have to take the consequences.

“But if it’s within the plan that has been workshopped all this time‚ with all the compliance officers of the clubs‚ with the Board of Governors‚ we have done our best.

“And that is why when we applied for the restart the Health Department admired our plan‚ which is unique.

“It helps in the mitigation of the risks that we now know. Those that we don’t know we cannot plan for.

“But we are hoping that nothing happens‚ that we play the games to the finish. Obviously if there is any force majeure [unforeseeable circumstances preventing someone fulfilling a contract]‚ we have to take that up at that point in time.

“But the most important thing that we emphasised to the clubs was: compliance‚ compliance‚ compliance.

“Nobody must compromise the BSE. Because that is our starting point.

“If you are in the BSE‚ you go to training‚ or to the match situation. Any other diversion‚ you’re compromising the BSE.

“If somebody does that it’s an insult to the whole country.”

The 32 Absa Premiership and GladAfrica Championship teams will be quarantined in hotels in Johannesburg and Pretoria and travel only to training and match venues.

The teams conducted Covid-19 testing returning to training in early July‚ with positive players sent into isolation‚ and clubs must undergo a second round of testing at their home bases 48 hours before entering the BSE.

All personnel within the BSE are constantly screened and monitored for symptoms.