The South African Football Association (SAFA) has condemned what it describes as “distortions” in its reports about its relationships with the Premier Soccer League (PSL). A statement from SAFA addressed this issue as well as insinuations that South African football’s governing body has financial and other issues.
“There have been lots of distortions with regards to the issue of the return to play matter. The fact is, SAFA has always advocated for the resumption of football upon full compliance from the National Soccer League and we are looking forward to football resuming on the first week of August,” the statement read.
‘We must, however, insist on the health and safety of players as prescribed by the world football governing body, FIFA. Here are some of the distortions and falsehoods which we would like to dispel.
‘That SAFA is obstructing PSL from resuming:
i) The truth is that SAFA has worked and is still working with the Special Member through the two organisations’ Joint Working Group to produce an agreed date on the return to play.
ii) On Monday (13 July 2020), the Joint Working Group led by SAFA and NSL CEOs met and, after consultations with the SAFA Referees Sub-Committee, decided the appropriate date for the start of the league would be 1 August 2010 [sic].
iii) This agreement was forwarded to the SAFA NEC and the NSL Board of Governors (BoG) and this was in response to the letter from the Government outlining compliance processes which placed the responsibilities of overseeing the whole process on SAFA.
iv) The Joint Working Group has been working hard and we hope matches will commence on 1 August as planned. We have in the meantime begun processes to test match officials for covid-19 and put those who test negative through the mandatory FIFA fitness test. This is a requirement from FIFA who initially suggested thee weeks but we compromised on two weeks.
v) The argument that SAFA is against the resumption of football is both illogical and false because international football will resume later this year and we cannot have a competitive national team without competitive domestic football.
vi) Talk that SAFA has financial problems and wants to collapse the NSL is laughable to say the least. SAFA doesn’t have financial problems and we have recently paid all of our regions, all clubs and players and we will continue to do so. SAFA will actually report massively improved financial results in the current financial year.
vii) SAFA wants a well-funded and well-run professional wing and anything to the contrary is opportunistic and dismissed with contempt by SAFA.
‘SAFA has worked hard for PSL to commence on 1 August 2020 and we are looking forward to football commencing on that date.
‘Bafana Bafana and the U23 team have to get ready for their respective upcoming assignments. The Senior Men’s National team has to be ready for the Africa Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup qualifiers while the u23 have to be ready for the Tokyo Olympics next year.
‘The revenue of the NSL has nothing to do with SAFA as we have never interfered with their sponsors.
‘The situation in Gauteng Province and the country at large is a life-threatening situation and we need to tread carefully on safety and healthy compliance.
‘SAFA’s original position was that the commencement of play was Level 1, however, through the hard work of the Joint Working Group, SAFA agreed that the proposal for commencement of 1 August 2020 under Level 3 can be approved subject to full compliance in terms of government regulations. This position has been accepted by SAFA for an immediate start on 1 August 2020.’