CAPE TOWN – South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan says the coronavirus pandemic is “a moving target” that will continue to create uncertainty around the immediate future of the game in the country.
Jordaan said the government’s lockdown levels will be a crucial factor in deciding when the matches will resume in the country.
“South Africa goes into Level 4 lockdown on May 1 and that makes it impossible to even think about playing matches,” said Jordaan.
“We’ll have to wait until we reach Level 2 or Level 1 before it becomes possible to train or even play without falling foul of government regulations.
“Our plans, therefore, have a strong link to the lockdown levels. For now, we must at least rule out any activity in June and perhaps after that we can expect some movement in terms of plans to resume play.”
Jordaan said he has been keeping an eye on what has happened abroad, particularly in Europe where there were plans to play initially behind closed doors.
“We must be mindful that in those countries where clubs are looking to resume playing, the clubs there have well-equipped medical teams and that includes physicians.
“One thing I know is that the clubs will have to test every player as well as every member of the management and support staff before the league resumes. That will be a requirement.
A look at how the sporting calendar has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The French Grand Prix is the latest to be postponed, with Silverstone looking at holding the event behind closed doors.
“In South Africa, we may only have two clubs that have that capability so that is one aspect we’ll have to look at closely before making decisions.”
Jordaan said he was not in favour of playing behind closed doors. “It has been tried and it has not been successful. We see that in those countries where it has been tried, the game has come to a standstill.”
According to Jordaan, clubs will also face challenges when training sessions resume ahead of restarting leagues.
“There must be social distancing measures, multiple control and prevention procedures aimed at minimising the spread of Covid-19.”
Meanwhile, Fifa has offered Safa financial relief.
“Recently I had a virtual meeting with Fifa and informed them about how Covid-19 had impacted on the game in our country.
“I’m pleased to report that Fifa has agreed to help. I don’t know the amount we’ll receive but I believe the funds will arrive any day now.”
At a recent meeting of Safa’s senior management members, it was decided to take a pay cut of 15 percent in one of many initiatives to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic. “We’ve had a chance to review the recommendations of senior management and these have been circulated to affiliates.
“Some have already responded, and it looks like all the recommendations will be accepted.”
The senior management members meeting was attended by Gronie Hluyo, Mlungisi Ncame, Mzwandile Maforvane, Tebogo Motlanthe, Neil Tovey, Darryl Coutries and Dominic Chimhavi.
Safa employees will be offered voluntary retrenchment packages as part of the cost-cutting measures.
By Herman Gibbs