The remaining fixtures in the Nedbank Cup are part of the PSL’s plans to resume the domestic club programme that has been on hold for two months due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The organisers of the Ke Yona competition told City Press on Friday that the banking firm had been in constant discussions with the PSL regarding the outstanding matches of the lucrative knockout competition, which is at the semifinal stage.
The semifinalists this year are Mamelodi Sundowns, who will play against Bidvest Wits, while Baroka FC were drawn against Bloemfontein Celtic.
The date of the final is traditionally marked for a week after the conclusion of the league campaign each season.
“Yes, the Nedbank Cup will form part of the PSL’s plans, as it is one of the competitions that have not yet been concluded in the current season,” Tobie Badenhorst, Nedbank’s head of sponsorships and cause marketing, wrote in an email response to questions from City Press on the status of the knockout competition.
“Our wish is for all safety measures and precautions to be considered in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to put the safety of the players and fans at the forefront of anything we do.
“We would like to ensure that all of the relevant stakeholders have been consulted in order for us to make an informed decision collectively. We are in constant dialogue with the PSL, and we’ll wait for further guidance as far as the remaining Nedbank Cup fixtures are concerned.”
The PSL and Safa are locked in discussions to look at the possibilities around restarting the matches, with the ultimate goal of convincing government that the league will guarantee the safety and health of players.
City Press has learnt that a proposal should be ready for handing over to government this week.
Should government give football the all-clear to resume, there is the possibility of a Nedbank final without the fans, since mass gatherings remain prohibited under the current lockdown rules.
“The possibility of resuming the Nedbank Cup without spectators at the venues is a reality that we have to consider,” admitted Badenhorst.
He added that Nedbank would be guided by the PSL on the choice of venue for the remaining fixtures, including the final, which is traditionally the last fixture in the PSL calendar.
As for what the sponsors stand to lose without the fans at the cup matches, Badenhorst said: “We will not have the opportunity to engage with soccer fans through activities on the ground at the venues if the remaining fixtures are played behind closed doors. The safety of all individuals involved in various spheres of the game is of utmost importance in any approach that is taken.”
Should the Ke Yona be concluded, Badenhorst explained, they would be guided by the PSL in terms of the selection criteria and the awarding of the player of the tournament and most promising player of the tournament awards.
However, he refused to comment on whether the Covid-19 economic fallout would have any effect on Nedbank’s current contract with the PSL, especially since the bank is one of the main contributors to the league’s income from sponsorship.
“We have an existing contract with the PSL, which we are honouring,” he said.
The bank’s annual contribution of R80 million accounts for a big chunk of the PSL’s sponsorship income, as recorded in the league’s latest financial statement.
Nedbank Cup winners pocket a R7 million first-prize purse with an automatic qualification to the CAF Confederation Cup. GladAfrica Championship side TS Galaxy are the Ke Yona reigning champions.
Meanwhile, a task team comprising representatives from the PSL and Safa is expected to give feedback to the joint liaison committee this week.