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Clubs expected to take care of their own expenses when PSL resumes in August

The PSL season will resume on 8 August with the Nedbank Cup semi-finals where Mamelodi Sundowns will take on Bidvest Wits while Bloemfontein Celtic go toe to toe with Baroka. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Daniel Irungu)

After its suspension on 16 March due to the coronavirus, the Premier Soccer League is now just two weeks away from resuming.

Local football is set to finally make a return to South African television screens after an almost five-month Covid-19 pandemic hiatus.

The season will resume on 8 August with the Nedbank Cup semi-finals where Mamelodi Sundowns will take on Bidvest Wits while Bloemfontein Celtic go toe to toe with Baroka. League games will kick off on 11 August, with the first weekend of September earmarked as the final day of the season.

The announcement was made by Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza at a press conference on Monday. Khoza was speaking following extensive deliberations by the PSL’s Board of Governors.

“This is a historic and exciting moment in a difficult time in the history of this country. I think the announcement is going to assist towards mitigating the challenges that are faced by the country and also assist in the mental wellness of the people,” said Khoza.

The chairman also made it clear all 32 teams – the 16 from the Absa Premiership and 16 from the GladAfrica Championship – were expected to cover their own expenses throughout the World Cup-like camp to be hosted in Gauteng.

There have been reports that some clubs are unhappy with being told to cover their own expenses while in the biologically safe environment in Gauteng. Most of the teams that have expressed displeasure are the “smaller clubs. However, Khoza was adamant that each club will be expected to pay its own way through to the end of the season.  

“For the last four months, we’ve been giving grants without taking any deductions. Remember, in the grants there’s deductions for travelling and accommodation. But that money has not been deducted,” he said.

“So, every club is going to carry their own expenses insofar as travelling to the biologically safe environment and also their hotel accommodation. Because for the last four months we’ve been paying grants without any deductions. So, the clubs must pay from their coffers.” 

The announcement brings an end to speculation on whether the season would be abandoned, as the PSL and the South African Football Association (Safa) have not seen eye to eye at times.

The PSL had been keen to resume on 18 July. However, due to its dependence on Safa supplying referees, those hopes were dashed when the association – which has been charged with overseeing the return-to-play process by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture – said their referees would only be ready in August.

“I would like to thank the PSL chairman and the entire Board of Governors for helping put this matter to rest. We will now witness the ultimate and fair conclusion to the current and unique season, and I am sure the football-loving fans can’t wait for football to resume again,” said Safa president Danny Jordaan. 

Teams will be allowed to have as many as 50 players in their respective camps, in case of injury. They will also have to test all the players that they take into the bio-bubble, these tests will happen 48 hours before they enter the biologically safe environment.

The development was welcomed by the South African Football Players Union (Safpu).

“The players have always been ready, provided they are to be assured of safety. So, we are very happy at what has been arrived at in that the league saw it fit that they can continue. You heard today the emphasis that everything will be happening around the bio-bubble, so it’s very important that all the protocols be followed for the players to get the necessary safety,” Safpu president Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe told Daily Maverick.

Khoza said the PSL would meet again in three days to flesh out the finer details, and to discuss issues around when the 2020/21 season will commence, and the transfer window and player registrations for that season. DM

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