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PSL burst bio-bubble concept

By Ricky Zililo

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) will have to come up with a feasible proposal to replace the expensive bio-bubble concept as plans for football to restart intensify.

PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele
PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele

In a leaked document prepared by PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele and sent to the topflight league’s governors for discussion titled “Proposal for the start of 2021 Football Season”, Ndebele indicated that they and the clubs were not “financially sound” to adopt the bio-bubble concept.

The bio-bubble concept that top leagues in the world such as the English Premiership and La Liga as well as neighbouring South Africa’s PSL are using, entails teams to stay in a safe environment where they have no contact with the outside world.

This means players, technical staff and support staff camp in a protected environment for the duration of the competition.

There was a gleam of hope that the league would resume after teams were allowed to train until the end of December 2020 without participating in any competitions.

It was hoped clubs would resume training in January 2021 and start competitions at the end of this month.

However, training has not resumed due to the new Covid-19 wave which led to a tighter lockdown.

In his discussion paper, Ndebele said there is need for football to come up with a resumption plan that will be accepted by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.

He notes that the bio-bubble concept thus far remains the only approved method to resume competitions.

“The Premier Soccer League and its clubs are not financially sound to afford the costs of camping, allowance and other related costs. It is important to note that, this concept competition should be played behind closed doors. This requires a lot of financial resources, yet there will be no income from gate takings. The bio-bubble concept is not viable if the league has no broadcasting partner.

Clubs cannot afford to keep teams in camp for the duration of the competition. Further, clubs may find it difficult to pay players’ allowances and salaries without sponsorship,” wrote Ndebele.

“The conclusion is that the bio-bubble concept is expensive and unaffordable. The PSL will have to come up with a new proposal for submission to the Sports and Recreation Commission through the Zimbabwe Football Association.” The Chronicle

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