Wed, 28 Jul 2021

FIFA has denied rumours that all domestic soccer competitions need to be completed by 31 July.In South Africa it however remains unclear when professional soccer can resume.The government - specifically the Department of Sport and Recreation - appears out of touch with how the rest of the world is moving in this regard.

In an emphatic statement released by FIFA from Zurich on Wednesday, world soccer's controlling body denied they had designated any date on which the multitude of disrupted domestic competitions, caused as a result of the coronavirus crisis, can resume - or must be completed.

The announcement was particularly relevant and of major significance to South Africa in view of the many disconcerting reports circulating here that FIFA had decreed that all domestic competitions that are jump-started into action must be halted and completed by 31 July.

Such a declaration, if substantiated, could have been a major obstacle regarding the possible resumption of the Absa Premiership and Nedbank Cup as the Department of Sport and Recreation, SAFA and the PSL, in conjunction and individually, stutter and stumble over what conditions professional soccer can resume in South Africa.

While making an extensive, detailed resume and analytical report of the situation in which all FIFA's 211 affiliated nations find themselves, the spokesperson of the world body's controlling organisation stressed that all propositions monitored were in the form of suggestions gleaned after discussions with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other relevant bodies."

"Ultimately," added the FIFA spokesperson, "each country and its soccer authorities must make their own decision, with government consent, as to when domestic events can resume and be completed - and under what conditions."

In this respect, many countries, including Germany's Bundesliga, the English Premier League, Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A have either swung into action or set dates on which they will resume.

"FIFA's main concern revolves round the health issues of players, officials and all others involved," said the organisation's spokesperson, "with massive gatherings of spectators a major obstacle in this respect and one that should be avoided if possible."

Meanwhile, the situation in South Africa is moving only slightly faster than snail's pace, with SAFA and the PSL finally devising a joint programme for a resumption of the Absa Premiership and other completions, which includes the absence of spectators, but would ease the lingering depression of football followers and others as a diversion in these troubled times.

The government - specifically the Department of Sport and Recreation - appears out of touch with how the rest of the world is moving in this respect, while belatedly agreeing to the resumption of club's training, but only after submitting a detailed report on the health and safety measures they will employ.

Should the disjointed pieces between those involved finally fall into place - and even this is not certain - it can be placed on record by those whose memory serves them right following the lengthy absence of games that Kaizer Chiefs, the PSL log leaders with a four-point advantage over defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, but having played an extra game, were the two strong frontrunners.

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