In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought the whole world to a standstill, resulting in almost all the football leagues around the world being suspended, the world’s football mother body FIFA has established a task force.
The duty of this FIFA working group on COVID-19 is to come up with measures, part of which will be to normalise the situation in the professional game during an abnormal time.
In the working documents shared with member associations around the world, FIFA is encouraging clubs and players to negotiate on possible deferral or reduction of salaries during this abnormal period.
This is something that has started happening in Italy, Spain, Germany and other European countries.
But the South African Football Players Union (SAFPU) President Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe says South African players are not ready for that.
Prior to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) suspending its programme indefinitely even before the lockdown was enforced in SA, Safpu is one of the stakeholders they had consulted.
Gaoshubelwe says they continue to engage the league and says no drastic measure will be taken yet.
Economically, the country is not in a good space.Just last week, SA was downgraded into a junk status by the ratings agency, Moody’s, and this is something Gaoshubelwe says they are fully aware of, but the interests of the players still come first to them.
Currently, the country is sitting on 1326 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three deaths and its only Day 4 of the 21-day lockdown.
The PSL’s wish is to finish the league by the end of June this year and most teams are left with between six and eight matches in this campaign.
The Nedbank Cup is at semi-final stage.
Gaoshubelwe says they continue to consult with their members (players) and if the situation becomes dire for the league, the talk of salary cuts will not be avoided.
In the audio, Gaoshubelwe explains:
Despite the assurances from Safpu that players have nothing to worry about, there are already fears from other stakeholders in the game that players at certain clubs might not receive their full salaries and COVID-19 will be used as an example.
Gaoshubelwe says they are hoping to have a follow-up meeting with the league soon. – Report by Velile Mnyandu