South Africa gets government approval to resume season

South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) took a step closer to resuming their 2019-20 season when the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, confirmed protocols for a return to play had been approved.

Mthethwa made the announcement in a media release on Wednesday, which gave a resounding thumbs-up to the plans the PSL, led by the South African Football Association, have put in place to return to the pitch.

“The plans of the Premier Soccer League have been approved, considering the mitigation strategies and plans in relation to the Level 3 risk adjusted strategy in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

“The plans have further been subject to analysis by Health authorities, the NICD (National Institute of Communicable Diseases) who have recommended that the measures put in place by the organisation meet and in some instances exceed the required protocol for a safe return to training and to play in a Biologically Safe Environment.”

It suggests that the season will be completed in one central location over a course of weeks, with the testing of players having already started last week.

Clubs such as Mamelodi Sundowns and BidVest Wits still have nine Absa Premiership matches to play, but most have six or seven, while the Nedbank Cup is also at the semi-final stage.

The next step will be for the PSL to announce the location of matches and a date for the restart, which is expected to be sometime in July with teams having only just returned to group training.