Kaizer Chiefs request match postponements due to COVID-19 outbreak

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 29: Fans during the Carling Black Label Champion Cup match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on July 29, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. At least two people have been reported to have been killed and several injured in a crush during the game at South Africa's biggest stadium. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

South African club Kaizer Chiefs want as many as five league games they are due to play this month postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak that has seen 31 members of the squad test positive for the virus and the club headquarters shut down until next week.

Chiefs released a statement saying they had written to the Premier Soccer League arguing that the current situation meant that they did not have enough players nor technical team members to constitute a team. Chiefs are based in Gauteng province where the Omicron variant is surging the highest in South Africa.

FILE PHOTO: Kaizer Chiefs fans during a previous match in Johannesburg, South Africa. /Getty Images

Chiefs want the DStv Premiership games against Cape Town City (December 4), Golden Arrows (December 8), Sekhukhune FC (December 12), Royal AM (December 19) and Maritzburg United (December 22) postponed to avoid risk of infection and any further spread of COVID-19.

They also want the matches to be pushed forward to allow those infected to recover and complete their quarantine period before they can play against other teams.

“Given the situation, the medical team have conducted contact tracing of primary contacts of those who tested positive and have instructed all players, members of the technical team and staff, including those who tested negative, who are primary contacts to quarantine as per COVID protocols,” the statement read in part.

“We view this as a case of force majeure as what the Club is experiencing as a consequence of COVID and the protocols it is obliged to implement, is total beyond the control of the Club.”

“We have appealed to the League to seriously consider the matter for the sake of everyone’s health and safety because there are many other people involved in organising a game.”

The club said it had implemented stricter COVID-19 management protocols after several positive COVID-19 cases and has been more stringent in the last two weeks given the increasing number of infections in the region and the country.

Kaizer Chiefs are currently second in the DStv Premiership with 22 points, eight behind defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns who have a game in hand.

South African sport has gradually been shutting down since the detection of the new coronavirus variant in the country.

Four rugby teams were due to play South African opposition in the United Rugby Championship (URC), but matches on last week were postponed. Golf events have also been affected with the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship being cancelled entirely and the South African Open being reduced to a South Africans-only field.