“It’s all systems go”, according to Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza.
Today he announced the resumption of the Premiership and Nedbank Cup matches after the 2019/20 season was crippled by the spread of the coronavirus in March.
Contrary to popular belief, stating that the current season was bound to be scrapped, the PSL resolved at its Board of Governors (BoG) meeting, to go ahead and complete the season starting with the Nedbank semifinals on August 8.
Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits will renew their rivalry in the Nedbank Cup semifinals while the other match will feature Baroka FC taking on Bloemfontein Celtic.
The Absa Premiership restarts on August 11, however, the league will no longer be bankrolled by the bank after it terminated its sponsorship, ending this season. The league fixtures are scheduled to conclude on September 5.
All PSL clubs, 32 of them, comprising of 16 clubs in the elite league and the other 16 from the National First Division, known by its the name of its sponsors as the GladAfrica Championship will be based in bio-bubble in Gauteng and will be tested 48 hours before they enter the venue.
In a statement released by the PSL, it said the BoG unanimously agreed to resume the season but the dates of when the fixtures will be played and kick-off times will be “confirmed in due course”.
“This announcement will assist in lifting the mood of the country and also in mitigating some of the challenges faced by our country and the global community,” said Khoza.
“We have informed our stakeholders including the Minister of Sport, the MEC of Sport in Gauteng, Safa, the broadcasters SuperSport, Absa, Nedbank, GladAfrica and SAFPU about the plans. All the clubs in the PSL have made it possible in making sure they comply with the protocols.”
Khoza said that the remainder of the season will be played in a biological safe environment (BSE), however, there are concerns about one club that has not complied with the Coronavirus protocols and health and safety regulations. The club is believed to be Wits University, which has since been sold.
Wits, one of the oldest PSL clubs in South Africa’s top-flight league, has been sold to Limpopo-based businessman Lawrence Mulaudzi
The SA Football Association (Safa) announced it welcomed the decision by (BoG) to confirm dates for the conclusion of the 2019/2020 soccer season.
“I would like to thank the NSL chairman [PSL’s Khoza] and the entire BoGs for helping put this matter to rest. We will now witness the ultimate and fair conclusion to the current and unique season and I am sure the football loving fans can’t wait for football to resume again,” said Safa president Danny Jordaan.
Jordaan said the COVID-19 pandemic had put football to a definitive test but is happy that most of those challenges are now behind us.
“The match officials are getting into peak fitness and come 8 August, it will be all systems go.”