Absa Premiership

Sport Minister gives thumbs up to PSL resuming 'without fans'

Nathi Mthethwa (Gallo Images)
Nathi Mthethwa (Gallo Images)

Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa has given the Premier Soccer League (PSL) his full support to resume matches despite the coronavirus outbreak.

A delegation, led by South African Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan, met with Mthethwa and PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza on Tuesday to provide an update on the impact of the coronavirus in football.

"As we speak, they can have their match tomorrow (Wednesday) with no spectators," he said, as quoted by SowetanLIVE.

"Even if we are going to reach a point where there may be no matches, it will be gradually phased in. But there is an obligation on them to follow to the letter the health and hygiene protocols as outlined by the department of health.

"They have said that players will wash their hands... using water and soap. They have said on their own that when the match starts, there will be no handshakes as per tradition. They also know that you will need sanitisers.

"What we are emphasising here is when players are celebrating, they must do it individually. It is a change of behaviour because if we don't do that we will be spreading the pandemic.

"We need the (PSL) chairperson (Irvin Khoza) and others in the leadership positions in sport to raise their voice against this pandemic... They will continue with their matches without spectators and finish the season.

"The most important thing for us is that when they do that, they will be spreading the message to fight against this pandemic - so that there is no confusion."

Wednesday's match is between log-leaders Kaizer Chiefs and sixth-placed Bidvest Wits at the FNB Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 19:30.

The virus sweeping the globe has brought a grinding halt to sport and SAFA had advised all members to suspend all football matches and events attended by more than 100 people.

On Monday, the Premier Soccer League held an "urgent meeting" with its executive committee following President Cyril Ramaphosa's address to the nation on Sunday evening.

After that meeting, PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza announced that all matches in the Absa Premiership, GladAfrica Championship and the Multichoice Diski Challenge were to be suspended.

- Compiled by Tashreeq Vardien

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