PSL clubs will spend anything between R800 000 and R1.2 million for their stay in a specially created biologically safe environment, which is being called a bio-bubble, during the six weeks it will take for the league to conclude the 2019/20 season.
At the league’s board of governors meeting on Friday, it was confirmed that Gauteng, which has been chosen as the biologically safe environment, had contributed R10 million.
The money will subsidise the costs of the 32 PSL clubs that will converge for the camp this week. This works out to just over R300 000 for each side. The amount will be topped up by the “preparation fees” that the clubs will get from the league, City Press has established.
The ex-gratia payments, which amount to about R3 million for elite league clubs and R1 million for GladAfrica Championship sides, are often disbursed before the start of a new season, but the PSL was generous in paying them in advance because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the total expenses incurred in the biologically safe environment will vary for each club, and will be determined by the number of personnel they take into the bio-bubble.
Each club is allowed to take a maximum of 50 people, in line with government’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols under lockdown.
While this is a relief for the PSL clubs, spare a thought for the GladAfrica ones that are financially struggling.
First division clubs receive a R500 000 monthly grant from the league. Without sponsorship, they are likely to feel the pinch, as they use the same money for salaries and other expenses.
Second-tier sides are left with six matches – bar four teams with seven games outstanding – which they will complete within 18 days, according to the fixture list released this week.
A quick survey has revealed that each club will spend a minimum of R750 000 to be in the biologically safe environment for those 18 days. Clubs have already spent about R55 000 on the first round of Covid-19 tests conducted on their personnel.
The more players they take into the bubble, the more they’ll spend on accommodation, tests and other sundries.
The league’s task team has proposed that sharing rooms not be allowed and that teams book only one player per room, which will cost R1 375 per night, including meals but excluding laundry, according to information City Press sourced from clubs regarding the outcome of Friday’s board of governors meeting.
Meanwhile, premier division clubs are expected to spend approximately the same amount of money, as most of them must also play six games to conclude their programme.
Clubs are expected to undergo another round of Covid-19 tests 48 hours before they enter the biologically safe environment. This will cost them another R55 000 or so, depending on the number of personnel they take into the bubble.
One club boss said his side would take 50 people – including reserve league players (MultiChoice Diski Challenge players) – in case of injuries or in case any of the players tested positive for the virus.
“I’d rather spend the money than not have enough playing personnel and end up losing matches,” he said.
According to the biologically safe environment rules, anyone who tests positive will be removed from the bubble. This includes match officials, who’ll also be part of the unprecedented camp.
Numerous attempts to reach PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza for comment were unsuccessful.
However, he announced at a media conference this week that clubs have been receiving full grants during the lockdown and should therefore be able to afford their stay in the bubble.
“For the past four months, we’ve been giving the grants without making any of the normal deductions for teams’ travelling and accommodation expenses. So every club will have to carry its own expenses for travelling to the biologically safe environment, as well as for hotel accommodation,” said Khoza.