- All matches must be postponed until we find a clear solution to this crisis, says soccer boss Danny Jordan
The South African Football Association (Safa) has reiterated its stance that all forms of football be suspended until April 4 when an assessment will be made on the way forward.
In the face of escalating numbers of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the country, Safa president Dr. Danny Jordaan said the association had an obligation to preserve the wellbeing of players and fans.
Jordaan’s statement follows sports, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa’s announcement on Tuesday giving the PSL the all-clear to continue with domestic football under special conditions, following a meeting with all major sports stakeholders in the country.
This despite President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier declaring a state of national disaster and prohibiting gatherings of more than 100 people amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
At the meeting, the parties came up with suggestions on how they could proceed with precautions against the virus, whose death toll has since risen to nearly 8 000 worldwide.
However, the statement issued by Jordaan strongly opposes the minister’s directive.
The Safa boss insisted that countries such as Italy attempted a similar approach but ultimately succumbed to the virus as players became infected.
“All matches must be postponed until we find a clear solution to this crisis. Most of the leagues across the world have said that on April 4 there will be further assessment, so there will be no matches until then.
“Our position is the interest and health of the players because for us that comes first,” he noted.
“We have seen around the world that all matches are postponed. We cannot go against what is happening. Our position is clear, that all matches are postponed. Safa decided that there are no matches, it’s not possible to play,” stressed Jordan.
He said the health and safety of players was important.
“We have to look at issues of health and safety of the players, but also other important issues of contractual obligations and the revenue – these things we have to meet and discuss ways around them.”
Jordaan also added that Safa would inform both the continental and world governing football bodies, CAF and FIFA on their decision to suspend all matches in the country.
The PSL which is run independently but falls under the auspices of the national association, will have a board of governors meeting today (Fri) to deliberate and determine their course of action, considering the minister’s directive.
Safa’s chief medical officer, Dr. Thulani Ngwenya also gave a practical and historical background on how playing behind closed doors was not a solution to the ongoing global crisis.
Ngwenya pointed out playing in empty stadiums was not the answer, adding that our health system was far behind that of the Western world, who were failing to cope with the pandemic.
He added many players in Europe had continued to contract the virus despite playing behind closed doors, which most countries have now abandoned completely.