Mato Madlala says players are unlikely to be tested for the coronavirus if play does resume after the 21-day national lockdown.
DURBAN – PSL acting chief executive Mato Madlala says players are unlikely to be tested for the coronavirus if play does resume after the 21-day national lockdown. This after the League’s action was halted last month because of the pandemic. Speaking to Independent Media, Madlala made it clear that they can’t break the South African government’s regulations.
“We can’t create our own regulations as football. We will follow the regulations of the country. What are they saying? You know the regulations (you only get tested when you have signs of the symptoms that shows you might have coronavirus). We can’t fight against them. We can’t change the regulations. All we are saying as the PSL is that we will comply with the regulations of the country. We are not above regulations as football. That must be clear,” Madlala said.
“If the regulations are making it possible for us to play then we will continue. If the regulations at that time are making it impossible for us to play, we won’t play. We won’t kick a football if it means we are not complying with regulations. That’s key,” she added.
There was a suggestion by the minister of sports, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa that PSL action could continue behind closed doors before the government announced the lockdown, due to the fact that the PSL was about to reach boiling point before it was disrupted by Covid-19. At the time, Kaizer Chiefs were at the summit of the table.
“We now have two committees. A task team that is responsible for looking after medical and security sectors because those two are key. We have to know what to follow medically in order for games to take place behind closed doors. The minister of sports and recreation gave us permission (that we can play behind closed doors) on condition that we comply,” Madlala explained
“That’s the condition that underlines whether the games will take place or not. We had planned meetings before the national lockdown with the security and medical task committee. We were supposed to have met with the security task team a day after the President (Cyril Ramaphosa) announced the lockdown. But it was going to depend on the regulations on that time if they allow us. We’ve been given a mandate by our members that they want the league finished.”
“We will now review the new regulations that have been put in place. We will look at the dos and don’ts from the department of health. From there we will see what we need to implement or change, but still play behind closed doors. It looks like behind closed doors is the way to go for now. We will meet and discuss the way forward with the health department because we want to be ready by the time we feel we can go back to the field of play. We will look at the regulations and comply with them,” Madlala said.
In financial terms, the good news is PSL sponsors are still committed to the sport at this stage.
“At the moment they are still very supportive. They are still on our side. They want us to comply with regulations. There’s nothing to worry about at the moment,” Madlala said.