Bafana Bafana

SAFA hits back at claims it is obstructing resumption of PSL season

Absa Premiership trophy (Gallo Images)
Absa Premiership trophy (Gallo Images)
  • SAFA has responded to claims that it is obstructing the resumption of the 2019/2020 PSL season, insisting it is placing an emphasis on player safety.
  • Claims that SAFA is against the resumption of football have been called illogical and false as international football depends on competitive domestic leagues.
  • 1 August has been agreed as a date for the return of competitive matches.
  • The matches will be staged in Gauteng which will serve as a bio-safe environment.

In a strongly-worded statement, the South African Football Association (SAFA) on Thursday responded to claims that it is obstructing the resumption of the 2019/2020 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season.

The ruling governing body in South African football has instead insisted that it continues to place an emphasis on the health and safety of players in the resumption process.

"There has been lots of distortions with regards to the issue on the return to play matter. Fact is, SAFA has always advocated for the immediate resumption of football upon full compliance from the National Soccer League and we are looking forward to football resuming on the first week of August," SAFA said.

"We must however insist on the health and safety of players as prescribed by the world football governing body, FIFA.

Here are some of the distortions and falsehoods which SAFA would like to dispel:

That SAFA is obstructing PSL from resuming:

  • Truth is SAFA has worked and is still working with the Special Members through the two organisations' Joint Working Group to produce an agreed date on the return to play.
  • On Monday (13 July 2020), the Joint Working Group led by the SAFA and NSL CEOs met and after consultations with the Referees Sub-Committee agreed that the start day of the league would be 1 August.
  • This agreement was forwarded to the SAFA NEC and the NSL Board of Governors (BoG) and this was in response to the letter from the Government outlining compliance processes which placed the responsibilities of overseeing the whole process on SAFA.
  • The Joint Working Group has been working hard and we hope matches will commence on 1 August as planned. We have in the meantime begun processes to test match officials for Covid-19 and put those negative through the mandatory FIFA fitness test. This is a requirement from FIFA who initially suggested 3 weeks but we compromised on two weeks.
  • An argument that SAFA is against the resumption of football is both illogical and false because international football will resume later this year and we cannot have a competitive national team without a competitive domestic league.
  • Talk that SAFA has financial problems and wants to collapse the NSL is laughable to say the least. SAFA doesn't have financial problems and we have recently paid all of our regions, all clubs and players and we will continue to do so. SAFA will actually report massively improved financial results in the current financial year.
  • SAFA wants a well-funded and run professional wing and anything to the contrary is opportunistic and dismissed with contempt by SAFA.

"SAFA has worked hard for the PSL to commence on 1 August and we are looking forward to football commencing on that date.

"Bafana Bafana and the under-23 side have to prepare for their respective upcoming assignments. The senior men's national team has to be ready for the Africa Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup qualifiers while the under-23s have the Tokyo Olympics next year.

"The revenue of the NSL has nothing to do with SAFA as we have never interfered with their sponsors.

"The situation in Gauteng province and the country at large is a life-threatening situation and we need to tread carefully on safety and health compliance.

"We want football to begin. We had wanted football to begin on Level 1 but compromised with the NSL that the date should be brought forward provided there is full compliance."

Earlier, the PSL released a statement blaming SAFA for the delay in the return of competitive matches. The parties had failed to agree on resuming action this weekend.

"The PSL had complied with the requirements and ready to resume with the 2019/20 season on 18 July 2020‚ but unable to do so due to unavailability of match officials," the PSL said.

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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