Several facilities keen to assist the PSL if government gives green light to season restart

19 May 2020 - 15:16
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
General view of Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images General view of Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Several facilities have stepped forward and offered to assist the Premier Soccer League (PSL) if a proposed plan to accommodate all the topflight and lower tier clubs in a massive camp as a precursor to the restart of the season is given the green light by government.

TimesLIVE reported on Monday that Sun City Resort in the North West province is viewed as a possible venue to accommodate all 32 clubs - the 16 Absa Premiership and the 16 GladAfrica Championship - in a massive camp as a precursor to the restart of the season and more facilities have now offered to assist.

Royal Bafokeng Sport (RBS)‚ the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre (HPC) and the High Performance Institute of Sport (HPI) at the University of North West have all expressed interest in assisting the PSL to complete the season that was interrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak in March.

The three facilities are world class and they were used by teams during the 2010 Fifa World Cup. They have continued to be used by top international athletes as summer camps since the global showpiece a decade ago.

RBS played host to England in Rustenburg‚ the HPC welcomed then coach Diego Maradona's Argentina side in Pretoria while the HPI rolled out the red carpet to champions Spain in Potchefstroom.

“Royal Bafokeng Sport would welcome the opportunity to explore and assist South African sports‚ including football and rugby‚ as a potential venue that can play host to games‚ and as a preparation venue for the resumption of sports leagues in a controlled and secured environment‚” said RBS Sports consultant Emile Smith.

“We have the sports infrastructure at our facilities‚ we have the high performance centre gymnasium‚ medical suites‚ playing and practice grounds supported by two hotels.

"We also have several more isolated and independent hotel facilities within a 20km radius that can be scaled and managed for this purpose once national and provincial regulations allows for the safe return of sport with limited impact on resources required against the COVID-19 fight.”

The plan will be proposed to government and the matches could be played in July if it is given the green light.

HPC chief executive officer Toby Sutcliffe said they would be keen to assist the PSL if government allows them to open their facility and sport is given the green light to resume.

“We will be keen to help but we are bound by what the minister of higher education (Blade Nzimande) said‚ that we can’t open up our facility because we are on a university property‚" he said.

"If they say that we can open up the facility‚ we will do that and obviously we will follow all the necessary health and safety guidelines that we are supposed to adhere to.

“We have 40 twin rooms and six single rooms available and of the 40 twin rooms‚ 20 have 4 beds and 20 have two beds. When it comes to gyms‚ we have two and there are two swimming pools. Field wise‚ we haveeight playing fields that we can use. However‚ if the minister opens up some codes like swimming‚ I am going to then lose a swimming pool.”

Director at the HPI‚ Jean Verster‚ said they have the facilities to meet the requirements of a base camp.

“We do have the facilities but the university is closed at the moment because of the lockdown.

"We will be keen to help out but everything is going to depend on the directives from government and approval by the university’s top management.

"We have the sports village where the Spanish national team stayed when they won the World Cup in 2010. It is situated right next to the football fields and we also have the High performance centre‚” said Verster.