The excitement that came with the announcement that government has given the green light for resumption of football activities for amateur football has quickly evaporated. The SAB Regional League and LFA Promotion League clubs had expected to return and finish the 2019/20 league season that has been disturbed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead indications are that the SAB League and Promotion League may be declared null and void for the 2019/20 season. The resumption of football activities was discussed at a virtual meeting of the SAFA Gert Sibande Region Executive Committee held last night (Thursday 22 October 2020).
In the meeting some members mentioned that it will be difficult to continue with league matches due to the strict Covid-19 regulations especially at LFA Promotion League level. There are requirements that need money, creating stumbling blocks because clubs do not have budgets and are not getting sponsors at amateur level. The need to appoint a Covid-19 compliance officer by clubs seemed to be the main issue of contention between members who wanted the league to resume and those that wanted it to be declared null and void. These are the main concerns that may lead to the leagues declared null and void.
“The main concern is the lack of financial resources by local clubs. When we discussed the issues we realized that it may be difficult for some clubs to comply with the strict Covid-19 regulations due to lack of funds.”
Looking at the requirements that must be met by clubs before going to play, it becomes a hard decision to take but there are also requirements that may be met by clubs like sanitizing the match ball, washing hands, temperature screening and keeping a daily register of players coming to training or playing matches. One of the members that attended the meeting gave us an idea of what was discussed. “The main concern is the lack of financial resources by local clubs. When we discussed the issues we realized that it may be difficult for some clubs to comply with the strict Covid-19 regulations due to lack of funds. Another issue was the issue of medical doctors who needed to test and certify the players to be virus free, that will need a lot of money, time and preparation,” he said.
The executive members of SAFA Gert Sibande will meet with the SAB League clubs and LFAs this weekend to discuss the matter of resumption of football activities. They are expected to announce the date for the SAB League Provincial Playoffs set to take place next month. These are the playoffs of clubs playing to be promoted to the ABC Motsepe League. At this stage it is not clear if clubs playing in the LFA Promotion Leagues will be promoted to the SAB League for the 2020/21 season.