By Uche Dozie
After the sports minister’s go head for matches to continue in the country with special circumstances despite the corona virus pandemic, the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) have replied immediately that the suspension of matches stand.
According to KickOff, the football ruling body in the country, South Africa Football Association (SAFA) had initially played down any threat a week ago but had had to change it position after the president of the country announced the prohibition of crowd gathering due to the increase in the cases of virus on the country.
Hence, SAFA officially called on all members to suspend/postpone football matches until further notice on Monday.
“Following on our statement of last week in which we had indicated that it was not necessary to postpone or suspend the domestic football program at that stage, circumstances have changed drastically for the worse.
“Government has called on all stakeholders to take all necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus.
“On behalf of the National Executive Committee of the South African Football Association (SAFA), all members of SAFA are advised to suspend and/or postpone all football matches and football events that are attended by more 100 people in the country until further notice.” The statement from SAFA said.
Consequently, PSL Chairman Dr Irvin Khoza announced that the PSL Extra Ordinary Executive Committee meeting resolved to suspend all football fixture.
However, on Tuesday, the PSL was given the all-clear to continue with football matches under special circumstances by the Minister of Sport and Recreation Nathi Mthethwa.
“They will continue with their matches, which will be without spectators, and they will finish the season. The most important thing for us, as they do that, is they will be spreading the message to fight against this pandemic.
“So, there is no confusion. Even if we are going to reach a point where there are no matches, that will be gradually phased in. But as we speak, they can have their match tomorrow [Wednesday], with no spectators.” The minister said.
However, in a swift reaction on Tuesday, the football authority insisted that there is no going back on the decision not to hold football matches in the country.
“SAFA’s position remains unchanged and that is all matches (from amateur level to PSL) must be postponed until further notice.”
It is left to be seen if the league will go ahead this weekend after the back and forth from the government and the football body, but a defining decision may be reached when the PSL holds a Board of Governors meeting (all 32 members of the PSL) on Thursday, 19 March to discuss all the options and the way forward.
According to Bloomberg.com, there were 85 cases of coronavirus in South African as at Tuesday.
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