The South African Football Association (Safa) worked on processes outlined in the return-to-play protocol which was submitted and agreed on by government recently.
Government subsequently issued regulation in this regard in the Government Gazette.
According to a press statement released by Safa last Tuesday, the Minister of Sport sent out a letter to Safa stating they should appoint a compliance officer to oversee the process of return to training and return-to-play protocol.
Safa appointed Dr Thulani Ngwenya and Mlungisi Ncame as the compliance officers to liaise with the National Soccer League (NSL).
“It was further agreed that the two teams from the association and NSL, comprising the respective CEOs and compliance officers, work together on processes for resumption of football, both for training and play. In a report submitted by the league on 13 July, the league confirmed that they have done extensive work to ensure that clubs return to training in compliance with the directives issued by government and in terms of the decisions of the Safa joint liaison committee,” reads the statement.
On Friday, 10 July, Safa working group met their Premier Soccer League (PSL) counterparts to deliberate and finalise the date on resumption of play.
The meeting continued on Monday, 13 July, where it was noted that:
• According to the referees sub-committee of the technical committee, the first week of August is the appropriate date for the commencement of NSL matches.
• The choice of Gauteng as the host for training and match venues, as well as hotels, was agreed to by the government and NSL and that Safa had no input to this process.
• The 110 match officials will be subjected to medical and mandatory fitness tests. The medical examination specifically entails testing for Covid-19 and those who test negative would be required to undergo a mandatory 14-day fitness test under the guidance of the Fifa approved fitness trainer.
A Fifa fitness consultant participated in the discussion.
• The fitness trainer initially wanted a three-week fitness period but both parties mutually agreed on an accelerated period of training of two weeks in order to meet the beginning of August commencement date
In the meantime, once the compliance officers have completed their report, it will be submitted to the government to gazette on the return to play date.
The world football governing body, Fifa has accepted that it is the government’s responsibility to approve the return to play date and Fifa will be updated on the progress.
Story: Herbert Rachuene
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