The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has been hoping to complete the season before 31 July but the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, says the department is still only assessing the league’s plans to return to training.
The league has been suspended since March to comply with national lockdown regulations.
However, as the country looks to open up and restart, the PSL is desperately seeking solutions to complete the rest of the season.
The governing body has been waiting almost a week for Mthethwa’s green light for teams to return to training, despite announcing that they would be allowed to so on 11 June and almost immediately submitting plans for compliance with any Covid-19 prevention strategies.
The minister told the Sowetan that his department is still assessing the proposal from the league and that any resumption will depend on a number of factors.
‘The department is assessing the plans submitted by sport federations after the gazetting of the directives on 11 June,’ Mthethwa said.
‘Approval is not automatic. It depends on a number of factors, such as completeness of the plans, the adequacy of supporting information, etc.’
He said he would apply his mind to whether the sports bodies have complied with all requirements “and after consultation with the Minister of Health, the minister will then give a go-ahead for the PSL to train’.
Mthethwa said his department is not in a position to advise the PSL on how to deal with the 31 July deadline.
‘The issue of possibility as to whether the leagues could be finished in this current season or not depends on the PSL. The leagues can make their own decision.
‘The possibility of finishing is dependent on what happens with the Covid-19 pandemic and guided by government’s overall risk-adjusted strategy,’ he added.
“Of uttermost importance is to protect the lives of the citizens, players and all those involved in football and sport in general.’
PSL president Dr Irvin Khoza has revealed that the league is looking into the possibility of completing the season in a single province, with either Johannesburg or Durban being touted as possible host cities.
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