The proposed dates for the start of the 2020 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season could be cancelled amid revelations that the clubs might fail to meet Fifa and World Health Organisation’s requirements to resume action.
The campaign, which was delayed due to the coronavirus crisis, has been set to start during the August/September period and runs through into 2021.
According to a report by a medical committee chaired by doctor Edward Chagonda, PSL clubs will find it difficult to get clearance to start training.
Chagonda revealed his committee, which is mapping the way forward towards the safe return of football, recommended the PCR tests. The testing kits cost US$65 each, and this means the whole team would need at least US$10 500 to conduct the coronavirus tests every week.
In an interview with the Herald, the doctor explained the issue:
“We have sent a document to the Premier Soccer League, and I think the teams will need to sit down and see what they can do.
“The Medical Committee has recommended, among other things, the need to test players and officials and we have taken the bare minimum of once every week because the tests are a bit on the expensive side.
“From a medical perspective, health and safety are first, before anything else. So, these tests are mandatory and, of course, if we don’t do these tests we could be sued.
“So, we have recommended PCR test which costs not less than US$65 per test.
“PCR directly detect the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies, and is, therefore, more effective in telling early if someone has the disease or not.
“In the UK and other European countries where football has resumed, they are doing these tests twice or thrice per week to minimise chances of making mistakes.
“They have more Covid-19 cases in their countries compared to us but they can afford the tests and all the prescribed health protocol, the same with our neighbours South Africa.
“So, it will all depend on whether the local clubs will afford but, in our case, I think we are in a bit of a Catch-22 situation because we largely depend on gate-takings and, to make matters worse, supporters will not be allowed in.
“We had proposed to work with August but, with the way things are shaping up on the ground, with more cases being detected nationwide, it may not be possible.”