The strict return to play protocols submitted by the South African Football Association's (SAFA) Joint Liaison Committee (JLC) for government approval outlines the measures for the resumption of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) .
All football-related activities in South Africa ground to a halt on 15 March due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, with both the 2019/20 Absa Premiership and GladAfrica Championship campaigns suspended.
Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, over the weekend gave the green-light for non-contact and contact sport to resume training under Level 3 lockdown restrictions, which commenced on 1 June.
SAFA welcomed the government's announcement, but also made clear that no matches could take place under Level 3 lockdown regulations.
The Joint Liaison Committee held a meeting on Monday with a statement confirming it adopted the report and protocol from the Task Team that stated football can only resume under specific conditions.
"The meeting resolved that SAFA will write to the minister asking permission on training procedures," the statement said.
Sport24 can now reveal the strict measures that will be put in place when the Absa Premiership resumes.
SAFA chief medical officer Thulani Ngwenya confirmed that the Task Team are now awaiting government approval before a date to resume training can be announced by the PSL.
"This is a joint process by the JLC involving all stakeholders including SAFA and the PSL and we are now awaiting approval with no teams allowed to resume training before a date is announced to do so," Ngwenya said.
Return to play safety protocols for Absa Premiership:
- Teams including all players/staff will undergo first round of testing before training can resume.
- Teams will have to put in place protocols such as sanitising and ensuring social distancing measures before training can resume.
- Another round of testing will take place before teams arrive at "bio-safe zone" (believed to be Sun City or other sporting venues)
- Players and staff will be isolated in a quarantined venue for the duration of their stay in bio-safe zone.
- Daily screenings for possible symptoms and temperature checks will be done on all players and staff.
- All equipment at training/match facilities will be sanitised regularly to safeguard against the transmission of virus.
These measure are in line with the current government regulations in South Africa.
Teams are preparing for a hopeful return to competitive action once the regulations are eased further. The 2019/20 PSL season has 54 matches to play before conclusion by the 31 July deadline decreed by governing body, FIFA.
- Compiled by Baden Gillion