Hopes of completing season by June 30 fading fast after PSL and Safa shelve talks
The Premier Soccer League's (PSL) hopes of wrapping up the season by June 30 are fading fast after a meeting with the South African Football Association (Safa) that was to map a way forward was postponed at the weekend.
Acting PSL CEO Mato Madlala told TimesLIVE last month that they hoped to complete the suspended 2019-20 season by the end of June but after the postponement of the meeting that was to be held on Tuesday to provide further clarity on the issue‚ it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the campaign could be wrapped up by the league's desired date.
“I was on a call with PSL’s (acting CEO) Mato (Madlala) (on Friday) and we decided we’ll engage each other after the 30th of April‚” Safa’s acting CEO Gay Mokoena told TimesLIVE.
Leaders Kaizer Chiefs were perched at the premiership summit with second-placed Sundowns breathing down their necks when the season was halted in the middle of last month due to the outbreak of the Covid-19.
PSL chairman Irvin Khoza and Safa president Danny Jordaan were to lead the discussions on Tuesday.
“We hope that things would have eased a bit after the 30th of April and it will be possible to talk about the way forward with the PSL‚"continued Mokoena.
“Everybody wants football to be played but people must remember that it’s no longer completely in the hands of football officials.
“The government is in control of this and we’ll hear from them while we also look at what is happening around the world‚ particularly in countries already hit hard by the virus.”
Premiership players were paid their full salaries last month but the future remains uncertain as PSL officials have conceded that they cannot guarantee payment of the R2.5 million a monthly grants in the coming months if there is no action on the pitch.
Chiefs are four points clear at the top as they attempt to end their five-year trophy drought while coach Pitso Mosimane's irrepressible Sundowns are chasing their third successive league title and a record 10th in the PSL era.
In the bottom half of the standings‚ AmaZulu FC‚ Black Leopards‚ Polokwane City and Baroka FC are fighting to avoid relegation with very little separating the strugglers.
There’s been a suggestion by some to promote the two leading teams in the National First Division (Ajax Cape Town and Swallows FC) to make the PSL an 18-team league if the current season is cancelled.
The possibility of that cannot be ruled out after Fifa hinted this week that it may be forced to scrap all international matches in its calendar this year to avoid players travelling when there’s no end in sight to the fight against the coronavirus.
Resuming the league late in May and possibly finishing in July is now a likely scenario for the PSL though medical officials have repeatedly warned of rushing players into playing after such a long mid-season break.
They argue that injuries may occur easily as most players are not properly training at home at the moment.