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SAFA Slams PSL, Puts New Date For League Resumption

SAFA has put a new date for the expected return of domestic football, slamming the Premier Soccer League’s plans to restart play next weekend as unrealistic and undermining the orders from Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

The Siya crew reported yesterday that the league’s acting CEO, Mato Madlala, had sent a letter to SAFA on Friday confirming 14 training venues and 11 match day Stadiums for the 2019/20 campaign to resume in Gauteng in a biologically safe environment (BSE).

Read: 14 Training Venues, 11 Stadiums - Football Is Back!

SAFA, who have been given permission by Mthethwa to oversee the compliance of all PSL clubs and the restart, said the memo came as a surprise, especially after the contents of that document were not discussed when the two bodies met hours before.   

“I would like to express utter surprise at the contents of the letter, coming as it does only a few hours after we agreed at our meeting, (at the request of the NSL) that we cannot conduct any substantive deliberations due to Mr Murphy's absence due to ill health,” wrote SAFA acting CEO Tebogo Motlanthe in response.

Murphy is the PSL compliance officer tasked with seeing to it that all clubs adhere to the safety and health regulations of Covid-19 ahead of the restart.

SAFA also has its own compliance officer – Dr Thulani Ngwenya, who has since been given permission by the Sport Minister to approve the return to training.  

It’s been four months since the domestic league was suspended.

“The unilateral confirmation of training venues and date for resumption of play on 18 July 2020 by the NSL is against the spirit of our meeting and the resolutions of the Joint Liaison Committee. Sadly, it also undermines Minister Mthethwa's directive that the Association should play an overarching role in this matter,” added Motlanthe in a letter seen by the Siya crew.  

“I wish to reiterate two critical factors we outlined at the meeting today (Friday), namely; that we are committed to the resumption of play under safe conditions wherein the safety of players, team officials, match officials and other participants is not compromised and secondly, that for the reasons outlined at the meeting and in the presentation I have since sent you, it is not practical to expect resumption of play before 01 August 2020. It is for this reason that we agreed to invite the management of the Referees Department to our next meeting to outline their project timelines, which will then enable all of us to take informed, responsible decisions.”

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SAFA said match officials cannot be ready in a week’s time.

“One of the primary considerations for the return to play is that the mobilization, administration, group training, and conditioning of match officials cannot be done with haste. It must be executed meticulously  and with due regard to for CAF and FIFA prescripts. This is in addition to the prerogative to respect the process outlined by government,” wrote Motlanthe.

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza will hold a press conference on Monday – some two hours after what is supposed to be a meeting between the two bodies.

Story by @superjourno 

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