South Africa’s PSL suspends all football matches over COVID-19 pandemic

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 02: Sundowns supporters during the Absa Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Ajax Cape Town at Loftus Stadium on April 02, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Mamelodi Sundowns supporters during a past Absa Premiership match at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

South Africa’s administrator of professional football, the Premier Soccer League, on Monday announced the suspension of all matches scheduled for the remainder of the week.

The announcement by PSL Chairman Dr. Irvin Khoza was made following a meeting of the PSL’s Extra Ordinary Executive Committee. The major matches affected include those of the Absa Premiership, the GladAfrica Championship, the MultiChoice Diski Challenge, the PSL’s reserve league and the Nedbank Cup.

The move is in response to South African president Cyril Ramaphosa declaring the coronavirus pandemic a state of disaster and subsequently banning gatherings of more than 100 people at any given time in a confined space.

“It is very important for us as the PSL to adjudicate the issues raised by the President in a diligent manner that balances the most important thing, that what role do we play as the PSL without increasing the spread of the virus,” Khoza said.

“It’s important that we take a decision that is in the best interest of football and the nation.”

A meeting is scheduled to held on Thursday between the PSL board of governors and the Ministry of Sports to determine a way forward.

The next round of matches in South Africa’s Absa Premiership were due to be played this week between March 17-22.

Shortly after Khoza’s announcement, Bidvest Wits midfielder Thabang Monare said that he had not been infected by the coronavirus.

According to local media reports, Monare and his teammate Hashim Domingo both exhibited signs of heavy flu last week. However, both have since tested negative for the virus which has swept across the globe.

“No, I’m fine. Yes, I just had flu, but it wasn’t something to be concerned about. It was only flu. It started on Thursday so I had a hoarse voice, so ja I don’t have a coronavirus,” Monare told KickOff, a local sports publication.