Their next move hinges heavily on whether the government lifts the lockdown on April 30.
DURBAN – As the country and the world prepare for life after lockdown, football leagues around the globe have laid out possible scenarios to return to action and conclude their seasons.
In South Africa, the PSL board of governors will meet at the end of the month to map the way forward but their next move hinges heavily on whether the government lifts the lockdown on April 30.
Before the lockdown, caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the league contemplated playing behind closed doors but PSL chairman Irvin Khoza refused to discuss possible scenarios “until we get given a go-ahead by the government”.
In an interview with Independent Media, Khoza confirmed they will map the way forward when the board meets next week.
“The executive will be meeting on the last Thursday of this month to discuss how we will move forward,” Khoza explained without delving into details of the agenda.
Most teams are left with eight to 10 games to conclude the 30-match long season. The race for supremacy was headed for a climax but the rapid spread of the Covid-19 forced authorities to stop all non-essential activities. The PSL wants to see out the remainder of the matches.
“Our most important challenge is how to finish the league,” said Khoza.
“Fortunately we’ve got the guideline from Fifa that for any resumption of any activity, the government must give you a thumbs up.”
Commentators in the field of health have painted a gloomy picture, predicting a climb in the rate of infections until September.
Said Khoza: “We haven’t discussed scenarios with our members. The most important thing (at our last meeting) was to deal with the issues of how we use our voice in helping the government to flatten the curve.
“That’s why in our meeting we said we were hoping to finish by the 30th of June. But Fifa have come with new guidelines that the leagues can be extended until the end of July. As it stands our desire is to finish the season,” Khoza elaborated.
Pressed for his thoughts on the matter, the Orlando Pirates supremo was understandably careful not to express his view outside of the collective.
“There are lot of options but we can’t discuss them now. We try to discourage that because we will lose focus on the priorities (that face the country). The most important thing now is how to beat Covid-19.
“We will hear what the government says at the end of this month and then we can take it from there,” he explained.
Apart from the league championship, the PSL still have three Nedbank Cup matches (semi-finals and a final) that must be played to conclude the end-of-the-season knockout competition.
The PSL is not alone with the conundrum of having to conclude the 2019/20 business. Other major professional leagues are also struggling to keep their end of the bargain to make their sponsors happy despite the global crisis.
Weekend reports revealed that the English Premier League (EPL) aims for club trainings to resume on May 18, while matches could start three weeks later with no fans in attendance.
In Spain, AS Sport reported that La Liga have told teams that they will be allowed to return to training provided they comply with the protocols laid out by government.
They expect the season to restart in June.
The Bundesliga in Germany have loosened the restrictions as clubs are back at training but in smaller groups while minimising contact between players.
The speculation is that the Germans may resume their season in early May.