PSL chairman Dr Irvin Khoza. Photo supplied.
The current league programme will be high on the agenda during the meeting of the board of governors of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) that will be held today (Friday).
The meeting follows a sequence of meetings between the board members and representatives from the South African Football Association (SAFA) over the past weeks.
The league programme should have resumed over the past weekend as suggested by the PSL. During their meeting with SAFA last Tuesday, what became apparent was that the league programme could not possibly resume before the end of this month. This after SAFA had told the PSL that they would not be able to provide match officials if the league programme were to resume over the past weekend.
SAFA, the country’s football-controlling body, is the one responsible for the provision of match officials to officiate at professional level. During last week’s meeting, SAFA stressed the fact that the referees were not physically fit and that they needed at least 14 days to regain their fitness.
After the meeting, the PSL board of governors mandated their chairman, Dr Irvin Khoza, to negotiate with the stakeholders, including sponsors and broadcasters, regarding the way forward. This after the PSL realized that completing the current league programme on 31 August, as prescribed by the world’s football-controlling body, FIFA, if they resumed with the programme at the beginning of next month, would then not be possible.
According to insiders, Dr Khoza will be expected to report to the board members on the discussions he has had with the stakeholders. Several board members whom Limpopo Mirror had spoken to during the week said that today’s meeting was most likely going to ratify the nullification of the current league programme.
They all stressed the fact that completing the league programme in four weeks would not be possible, taking into consideration that most of the teams had been left with six matches to play when the nationwide lockdown was pronounced about four months ago.
Apart from the league matches, the league must also ensure that the semi-final and final matches for the Nedbank Cup and the promotional playoff matches are played within the month of August.
“Looking at all these, it is clear that completing the current league programme on 31 August will not be possible,” said one source. Declaring the current league programme null and void will mean that no team will be declared the champion and no relegation will take place. Teams fighting for survival, namely Black Leopards, Baroka FC, Polokwane City, Amazulu FC and Chippa United, will have good reason to celebrate as their places as PSL affiliates will be guaranteed for another season at least.
On the other hand, the decision is not likely to sit well with the teams that are contesting for the league championship - Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits. Kaizer Chiefs are leading the pack with 52 points, four ahead of Mamelodi Sundowns, while Sundowns have a match in hand.
Date:24 July 2020 - By: Frank Mavhungu
Frank is a Human Resources Manager at the Department of Public Works in Limpopo. He is the longest serving correspondent of the Mirror, having joined us at the end of 1990. He mainly writes sports reports and resides at Tsianda Village. In 2004, Frank won the National Castle League Award, an award for the best reporter in the SAB league in South Africa.