JOHANNESBURG – The willingness of football authorities to pull in the same direction has been a key factor in the resumption of professional football in Europe – and that is something that South African football bosses can learn from.
It was early in May when the Bundesliga, Germany’s top-fight, pioneered the restart of football under the “new normal” as Bayern Munich roared to another league triumph.
Real Madrid returned to the pinnacle in Spain after La Liga was concluded a fortnight ago.
However, all eyes were on the English Premier League as Liverpool ended a 30-year wait to clinch the championship, temporarily halting the dominance of Manchester City, who’ve ruled the league for the past two seasons.
The seamless return that was modelled by executive club owners and the English FA was pleasing to many, so much so that even seasoned commentator Jim Beglin couldn’t contain his excitement on social media during the coronation of the Reds last week.
“Congratulations LFC. Congratulations to FA Chairman Greg Clarke who dismissed the self-serving null and void brigade. Further congratulations to @premierleague for project restart. Integrity assured,” Beglin tweeted.
Congratulations LFC. Congratulations to FA Chairman Greg Clarke who dismissed the self-serving null and void brigade. Further congratulations to @premierleague for project restart. Integrity assured.
— Jim Beglin (@jimbeglin) July 22, 2020
While the likes of Beglin enjoyed the fruits of the English FA’s cohesive leadership – as the league season was successfully completed yesterday – a cloud of uncertainty regarding resumption has engulfed South African football in recent weeks.
It’s been well documented that the South African Football Association (Safa) and its special member the Premier Soccer League (PSL) haven’t seen eye-to-eye for some time, but the situation has become even worse over the last few weeks.
The PSL were working around the clock to hasten the process, suggesting that clubs would be able to restart the season by July 18 – considering that they had followed testing protocols to a tee before assembling in the ‘bio bubble’ that would be based in Gauteng.
But Safa kicked their proposal to the curb, saying that match officials would only be ready for resumption in the first week of August.
But on the other side of the coin, the PSL are yet to accept Safa’s proposal for football to resume later this week as their Board of Governors (BoG) meeting to map the way forward will only take place this morning.
Hopefully the BoG meeting on Monday will finally provide clarity to club bosses, players and fans. But the back and forth “blame game” between the PSL and Safa has been a new low point for South African football, just when the game leader’s needed to be working shoulder-to-shoulder as our society battles to deal with Covid-19.