As the restarting of several leagues gain momentum across Europe, world football’s supremo Gianni Infantino has cautioned that it is paramount to protect the wellbeing of all participants. He has included an all-encompassing slogan – “Health Comes First” in his latest circular to Fifa members.
In Germany, the Bundesliga has already restarted, and so has Portugal’s Primeira Liga, while in a week from now, England’s Premier League will kick-off. Spain’s La Liga resumes this weekend and Italy’s Serie A will follow suit by month end.
There is still no clarity about when the PSL will kick-off in South Africa, but Safa president Danny Jordaan said that there will be a meeting with the South African government Thursday.
“The SA football delegation will be meeting with the minister for sports, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa on Thursday,” said Jordaan. “I’m sure we’ll have a clear picture of how and when soccer will resume, while at the same time it will clarify the government’s position on the subject of reopening the Premiership.
“Football also needs to (be) ready to implement the strict return-to-play protocols, and I’m confident that it will be in place. Everyone involved with the organisation on hosting matches at stadiums must be au fait with guidelines and instructions of the government and health authorities.”
Infantino’s circular to Fifa members in part reads: “Fifa has issued a roadmap for the restart of competitions, which always keep in mind the most important principle is – ‘health comes first’!
“Also the possibility that you may now have five substitutions is for the same purpose – protect the health. In this case, it is our players.
“We need to maintain public health as the priority while not forgetting the wellbeing of players, officials and everyone who participates in any football activity.
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“Fifa trusts the judgment that you, together with the governments and health authorities of your countries, have made or will make. We hope that the WHO risk assessment tool and our guidelines can help you in deciding the best course of action.
“Football is already under way or about to restart in several countries. This brings us, and all the football fans across the globe, some hope for the future.
“However, we also must understand and respect different decisions, especially from those among us who still need more time to be sure that a restart can be done in a way that is safe for everyone.
“Tolerance and understanding are important, especially these days.”
The joint liaison committee which was appointed by Safa and the PSL have completed their report and this will be presented to the South African government by Jordaan and PSL chairman Irvin Khoza on Thursday.