PSL to deliberate on whether matches must continue

15 March 2020 - 21:33 By MAHLATSE MPHAHLELE
PSL Chairman Press Irvin Khoza.
PSL Chairman Press Irvin Khoza.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) will hold an urgent meeting of its executive committee on Monday in response to the measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa Sunday night where he declared a national emergency regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

Among far-reaching and extensive measures announced by the president to counter coronavirus (COVID-19) was a ban on gatherings of more than 100.

The PSL are sure to discuss whether their matches, starting with the crunch Absa Premiership clash between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Loftus on Tuesday night, will be played in front of closed doors or be suspended.

A PSL statement late on Sunday night read: “The Premier Soccer League, the largest event organiser in South Africa, in its response to the State President’s announcement that gatherings of more than 100 people be prohibited will be holding an urgent meeting of its Executive Committee on Monday, 16 March 2020 at 12h00 noon after which a press conference will be held to announce the details of its programme going forward.”

President Ramaphosa also announced that some of the ports of entry will be shut from Monday.

The PSL’s acting chief executive Mato Madlala told TimesLIVE said the league’s top brass will discuss all the measures announced by Ramaphosa.

 “We were watching and listening to the President address to the nation and as the league we will be meeting as soon as possible to discuss the way forward. We have recorded some of the points from the speech by the president and those issues will be discussed in our meeting,” said Madlala.

Madlala was not immediately in a position to say whether the week’s two big, title-influencing matches between Sundowns and Pirates and that between Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits at FNB Stadium on Wednesday will go ahead as planned.

Matches between Sundowns and Pirates draw capacity crowds and there will also be huge interest in league leaders’ Chiefs clash with sixth-placed championship outsiders Wits because of what is at stake at the top of the log.

Ramaphosa added that organisers of small gatherings will need to put in place stringent measures of prevention and control to avoid spread the virus that has already infected at least 61 people in South Africa.

 “Gatherings of more than 100 people will be prohibited. Mass celebrations of upcoming national days such as Human Rights Day and other large government events will be cancelled,” said President Ramaphosa.

Over the past few days, the sporting world has been feeling the weight of the COVID-19 outbreak that has spread from China to most countries around the world and it has infected over 150,000 people and killed more than 6,000.

Various sporting events around the world have been suspended over the past few days as a result of the outbreak of the virus which has spread to at least 120 countries.