As the global outbreak of COVID-19 continues, we will be publishing – and updating – a series of articles looking at how the pandemic is impacting various sporting events. You can find all the updates on the impact of the coronavirus on various sporting events around the world here.
Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza announced on Monday that all South African soccer fixtures scheduled for the will be suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, declared the outbreak a “national disaster” on Sunday evening, triggering protocol which includes, amongst other things, the prohibition of gatherings of 100 people or more.
This is effective immediately, meaning the mid-week fixtures between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates as well as Kaizer Chiefs Wits will not go ahead.
Further meetings will take place during the week to plot the course of the season.
Speaking at a press conference, Khoza said:
“This is a challenging time for South Africa, and the executive committee held an extraordinary meeting earlier today. The take home for us as the stakeholders is that the government has prohibited the gathering of over 100 people.”
The South African Football Association (SAFA) released a statement on Monday saying playing fixtures in an empty stadium wasn’t an option considering the rate at which the pandemic is spreading.
Part of the statement read:
Some of the football authorities elsewhere in the world have taken measures such as playing matches in “empty” stadiums without spectators. This response has not proven to be effective in minimizing the spread of the virus. In Europe, some players who were participating in matches “behind closed doors” have recently been found to be positive. Therefore, we do not believe that the practice of playing behind closed doors is effective.
Sporting events have been postponed or cancelled around the world amid the spread of the virus, with sporting bodies and national governments forced into action unprecedented in the professional era.
Friday saw showpieces including the US Masters Golf and the London Marathon put on hold, joining professional European football, the ATP tennis tour and the Six Nations Rugby Championship as the sporting calendar was stripped bare.
The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers was also put on hold last week.
Super Rugby has also been suspended indefinitely and the 2020 Euro competition could be postponed for as long as a year.