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Players to come from home… PSL pushes for efficient testing and protocols adherence

By Ricky Zililo

Regular testing and compliance to Covid-19 protocols will form the basis for the Premier Soccer League’s proposal for resumption of football.

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

Premier Soccer League chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele told Chronicle Sport that regular testing of teams and strict compliance could save clubs the burden of camping costs under the bio-bubble concept.

Ndebele penned a draft proposal on restarting the PSL for discussion by the PSL governors last week and the document was leaked to the media.

Under the proposal, the PSL intends to convince Government, through the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) that with efficient testing and compliance with Covid-19 protocols, it is possible to resume football with players coming from their homes.

“I can confirm that I wrote the document that was unfortunately leaked to the public. That is just a working draft which is a guide towards a document that we’re working on which will be sent to Zifa and the Sports and recreation Commission for consideration,” said Ndebele.

“For us to start, we need to support the document with protocols. Because of changing circumstances, there is need for amendments to the protocols that were used last year. Note that no training will start without Government approval and through this document, we seek to apply for variation of the bio-bubble concept to reduce high camping costs.

“When complete, you will see that emphasis will be on testing and compliance, meaning clubs will employ compliance officers as players will train coming from home instead of being in camp or a bio-bubble,” he said.

The bio-bubble concept 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 cordoned location for the duration of the competition.

There had been a glimmer of hope that the league would resume after teams were allowed to train until the end of December last year without participating in any competitions.

Clubs were hoping to resume training last month and start competitions at the end of this month but a tighter lockdown imposed at the beginning of last month threw all plans into disarray.

The SRC on Tuesday revealed that Zifa was yet to reapply for the restart of football this year as required by new guidelines.

For Zifa’s application to be considered, it should include protocols that will be used to ensure a safe environment for players and officials.

The PSL has indicated that it will be engaging its sponsors given the new challenge of playing in empty stadiums.
“We’re not expecting to resume activities with fans, which is critical to our partners. It’s unfortunate that the document leaked before we could talk to our partners and for that, I would like to apologise,” said Ndebele.

In his document, Ndebele proposed that all the 18 PSL clubs pay their annual subscription fee of US$2 500 each before February 28, 2021.

He also indicated that the PSL would request US$100 000 from the Fifa Covid-19 relief fund to pay staff salaries, rentals, stadium inspections, television production costs and other administrative costs. The Chronicle.