Safa gets tough and suspends all football, including PSL matches

The South African Football Association president Dr Danny Jordaan.
The South African Football Association president Dr Danny Jordaan.

The South African Football Association (Safa) have taken the decision to suspend all football in the country in response to the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to spread in South Africa.

The suspension applies until April 4, Safa president Danny Jordaan said making the announcement at Safa House in Nasrec, Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“We have a responsibility to govern football and therefore protect the players,” said Safa president Danny Jordaan making the announcement.

The decision might put Safa on yet another collision course with its subsidiary and professional wing, the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

The PSL suspended all their Abs Premiership and GladAfrica Championship matches for this week, with a meeting of the league’s Board of Governors on Thursday to decide on the way forward, with the potential of matches being played behind closed doors to be discussed.

On Tuesday night Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa, in a meeting with multiple sports bodies including Safa and the PSL on the response to coronavirus, gave a controversial green light for PSL matches to be played behind closed doors.

Jordaan said he had a meeting scheduled with PSL chairman Irvin Khoza on Wednesday morning, but that Khoza had cancelled the meeting.

Safa have repeatedly stressed that closed-doors football matches internationally have not worked stopping the spread of Covid-19, which has reached 200,000 cases worldwide, with 7,900 deaths.

Jordaan was asked what stance Safa will take if the PSL decide to continue playing matches behind closed doors, overriding Safa ruling.

“It’s not possible to play. Safa decided there would be no matches - that’s it,” Jordaan said.

Safa is recognised by world governing body Fifa as the ruling football entity in South Africa.

Jordaan said the medical evidence is overwhelming that playing behind closed doors is not effective stopping the spread of Covid-19.

Safa team doctor Thulani Ngwenya said in a country like South Africa, with high numbers of immune-compromised people in its population, and high density living areas, Safa has a responsibility to suspend football.

He said, while there are 116 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the suspected number was over 2,100.

This is a developing story ...