“As a league, there are certain things that are non-negotiable when it comes to taking care of the players.”
Premier Soccer League chairman Irvin Khoza has called on clubs and players to take the coronavirus seriously before the organisation decides on the way forward.
The PSL’s Board of Governors, the organisation’s highest decision-making body, will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss what will be done to domestic football because of the virus.
The PSL suspended its midweek matches along with those that were scheduled for this weekend following a directive by President Cyril Ramaphosa that banned gatherings of more than 100 people.
The South African Football Association (Safa) also suspended their programme due to the virus.
Yesterday, Safa met with the minister of sports, arts, culture and recreation to talk about the pandemic and the impact it is having on sport.
In the meantime, players have been training as normal with clubs awaiting the pronouncement of the board of governors which is likely to suspend the domestic league as travelling is also an issue for the virus that spreads quickly.
“It is not going to be business as usual going forward,” Khoza said. “We will be sending all the information to the clubs and we will share it with the Board of Governors to ensure that we strictly stick to that for support.
“The team doctors must do extra measures, there is a national support in terms of the number of things the government and World Health Organisation say is how best to deal with the matter.
“As a league, there are certain things that are non-negotiable when it comes to taking care of the players.
“It is also a mindset thing, to accept this thing and not take it as a by-the-way thing. There is this tendency of us taking things lightly. It is going to be very important that those protocols are followed to the tee.”
Players are at a bigger risk due to their travel and the numerous people they come into contact with. That’s why, among other reasons, a number of leagues were suspended due to the virus and some games being played behind closed doors.
The issue of travelling will be a big talking point for the board of governors if they decide to go ahead with the league and play behind closed doors.
That measure, of playing with no fans, has been found to not be that effective in combating the virus but instead puts the players and their families at bigger risk.
“Whichever decision we are going to take, will be in the interest of the families,” Khoza said.
“By travelling, you would have come into contact with so many people at the club and when you go into your place of rest, either in Mpumalanga, Soweto or in Natal, having come into contact with people who might have been exposed to this disease, imagine the damage you are going to do to your family.
“It is going to be important to emphasise that it is important to self-quarantine in whichever way, and have disinfectants.”