‘Once we receive feedback from our medical committee, we will decide the way forward.’ – Danny Jordaan
CAPE TOWN – The South African Football Association (Safa) and its affiliate member, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) have often been at loggerheads, but today they will finally join forces again to plot a way forward for the South African football.
The two bodies will meet as a joint liaison committee, which is the platform created for the two bodies to consider matters of mutual interest. Top of the agenda will be to explore avenues for resuming competition during the national lockdown.
Safa president Danny Jordaan confirmed the details of the meeting and said not all officials from the two bodies will be physically present. “Some officials will join the meeting via the Zoom video conferencing app,” Jordaan said.
The PSL will submit proposals at the meeting. The proposals deal with its vision for the game to resume soon. The PSL recently convened a two-day workshop after which its proposals were drawn up around how the season can be concluded behind closed doors, while adhering to the SA government’s health and safety regulations set to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Jordaan said the plan will be to hear the proposals and then direct it to the Safa medical committee, which is one of the technical clusters of committees which deal with matters in its area of expertise.
“Once we receive feedback from our medical committee, we will decide the way forward,” said Jordaan.
News of the meeting will please the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, who has urged Safa and the PSL to work together to decide the fate of the 2019-20 season.
Safa, as the mother body of football in SA, will also be encouraged by the latest developments in world football. The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which is endorsed by Fifa and which decides the laws of the game have made temporary amendments to protect player welfare. Teams will now be allowed a maximum of five substitutes, instead of three, in a match.
However, to avoid disruption to the game – and time-wasting, each team will only have three opportunities to make substitutions. Substitutions may also be made at halftime.
The keen interest of Mthethwa is also crucial in the decision to resume football. Fifa medical chief Michel D’Hooghe recently said that governments must have the final say on football resuming in countries.
In the light of D’Hooghe’s comment, whatever the joint liaison committee decides, the ultimate decision will lie with the government who in SA’s case will act “on the counsel” of the country’s soccer bodies.
The government’s verdict will likely be greatly influenced by the stage of lockdown levels in SA.
Jordaan has repeatedly said he feels the game, even behind closed doors, can only proceed at level 1.