Safa say they have never been against football’s resumption

Dr Irvin Khoza. Pic: BackpagePix

The South African Football Association claim they have “never” wanted to stop the game in this country from resuming, and said that they will be meeting with the Premier Soccer League on Monday to discuss the way forward.

The PSL have already said they will host a press conference on Monday at noon, led by chairman Irvin Khoza, and Phakaaathi understands there is an intention to start the 2019/20 season again on July 18. Safa, however, have been accused of slowing down the process, at times even claiming a return to play would not be possible until the COVID-19 locdown had reached Level 1.

With the lockdown now at Level 3, some sort of compromise appeared to have been reached, with a joint PSL/SAFA task force presenting a report to government that was approved by sports minister Nathi Mthethwa.

PSL teams have already returned to training, and the league are keen to get up and running as soon as possible, even with coronavirus infections continuing to rise across the country. The idea is to create a “bubble” in Gauteng where the virus can be contained and the Absa Premiership, Nedbank Cup and GladAfrica Championship played to a conclusion.

Safa and the PSL met already on Friday but according to Safa, agreed to move the meeting to Monday. Safa also control the referees and said in a statement the Head of Referees would be at Monday’s meeting “to expound on matters of testing and training of the match officials”.

Safa CEO Tebogo Motlanthe added: “We had a very cooperative and cordial meeting and we mutually agreed to have a follow-up meeting on Monday to deliberate issues with regards to return to training and play,”

“The Association has never been against the resumption of football but we have always emphasised the need to do so under a safe environment and in line with the JLC compliance resolutions,” added Motlanthe.

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