Contrary to the ongoing speculation, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) teams will not play their 2020/21 league matches in a bio-bubble when the activities for the new season start next month.
The chief medical officer of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Dr Thulani Ngwenya, revealed this when responding to a set of questions sent to him by the Limpopo Mirror.
Dr Ngwenya stated that the bio-bubble environment was created to complete the 2019/20 campaign and that no provision had been made for the teams to stay in the bio-bubble in the new season. He said that staying in the bio-bubble was too expensive for the clubs. Ngwenya said that, with the Covid-19 pandemic statistics going down and the new season due to start next month, talks had already begun with stakeholders with a view to having teams play next season’s fixtures at their own respective home grounds.
Ngwenya further indicated that the association had been compelled to create a bio-bubble in Gauteng as travelling from one province to another had been prohibited when the country was still on level 3 lockdown. He added that, now that domestic flights were operating full time again, travelling would be easy for the teams when the new season started.
He revealed that they had already sent some proposals to the government, which, if approved, would allow teams to enjoy their home and away advantage. Dr Ngwenya reiterated that the teams found playing without the fans on the stands hard. “Football is not football without fans, and that is my own, personal opinion,” he said.
He revealed that the association was exploring various ways to get some fans into the stadiums. Dr Ngwenya further indicated that he was optimistic that most of the restrictions and health protocols would be eased when the country moved to level 1 of the lockdown. “We are definitely not going to the bio-bubble, that I’m sure of,” he said.
Date:17 September 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.