The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture has clarified Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s comments around the possible hosting of Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches behind closed doors during this critical time of the coronavirus.

Mthethwa on Tuesday told the media that the PSL can play its matches behind closed doors provided all the conditions as approved by the Department of Health are adhered to.

His remarks came after his meeting with the country’s top seven sporting codes, including football.

Mthethwa said they would also be using these game as a tool to spread the message against the COVID-19, which has so far infected 116 South Africans.

In the audio below, Department of Sports adviser Walter Mokoena clarifies what the Minister meant:

The clarification comes a day after the football mother body, the South African Football Association (SAFA), rejected the suggestion.

SAFA boss Danny Jordaan told the media that playing behind closed doors has proven not be a solution in Europe, where about 35 % players of Spanish giants Valencia contracted COVID-19 whilst they were on duty in a UEFA Champions League match in Italy.

He announced the suspension of all soccer matches until April 4.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is on the other hand scheduled to hold a Board of Governors (BOG) meeting on Thursday, where about 64 delegates coming from the 32 clubs are expected to be in attendance.

Following mixed messages within the football fraternity over the past two days, the Sport Ministry’s Mokoena has called for unity, saying it is very important during this challenging period.

SARU’s COVID-19 strategy 

Yesterday, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) revealed plans to restructure its rugby competitions as efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 continues.

The plans could see SA franchises both in the Super Rugby and PRO 14 going back to a new locally-based derby competition as the international competitions are currently suspended.

SA Rugby also want permission to play these game behind closed doors, but broadcast on TV.

In the audio below, Mokoena says the Sport department is in possession of the request already:

Reports by Velile Mnyandu