Coronavirus: PSL season to resume under safe biological environment – Safa’s Ngwenya

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the South African Football Association (Safa) has confirmed that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches will resume in a single, massive camp.

According to Safa's head of medical Thulani Ngwenya, the games will only get underway once all the clubs camp in a safe environment.

This comes after the Joint Liaison Committee (JLC) of Safa and their special member, the National Soccer League (NSL), welcomed the unanimous decision by the JLC-appointed task team, which ruled that professional football activities can resume under certain circumstances.

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“Yes, that [the decision of hosting a national camp] is what we’ve agreed to,” Ngwenya said as quoted by IOL.

“Everyone who goes into the biological safe environment cannot leave. So it’s going to be like your Olympic Games-style [athletes village] where everyone is kept in one place.

“The teams will train and play at the allocated venues, and they’ll then return to the biological environment.

“We’ll be doing the daily screening. That’s basically the protocol [that the task team has come up with]. But these will not only apply to the players, but to the residences at the camp as well.

“In terms of training, we’ve agreed that if the letter is sent today and is approved by the government, then teams can start training. But they’ll have to be screened and tested for underlying conditions first before they can start training wherever they are.”

The 2019/20 PSL season was halted in March following the outbreak of the pandemic, which prompted the JLC to set up a task team three weeks ago to come up with recommendations about safe and professional protocols under which football can resume.

According to the publication, the task team finally reverted back to the JLC on Monday, saying that for the domestic season to conclude, all 32 teams in the top two divisions, 16 in the PSL and 16 in the National First Division (NFD), have to be based in a monitored biological safe environment for the duration of the season.

On the other hand, the Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa declared that non-contact sport can fully resume during Level 3 of the national lockdown, while contact sport such as rugby and football can begin training.

As things stand, Kaizer Chiefs lead the log with 48 points from 22 games whilst reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns are second with 44 from 21 matches.

The 2018/19 runners-up, Orlando Pirates, share the third spot with SuperSport United as they both have 40 points, Eric Tinkler's Maritzburg United occupy the fifth spot and Bidvest Wits are sixth.

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