Zambian FA announces early close to the league season, just weeks after restart

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has called for an early end of the 2019/20 Super League season after round 27 due to the escalating cases of Covid-19 among the clubs.

The league campaign only resumed two weeks ago.

In a statement released on Friday, FAZ said that the fixtures scheduled for August 1-2 and August 6 will be played before the teams can break ahead of a new season.

“The decision to close the league has been necessitated by the concerns that the Association has received from various stakeholders, especially Government, through the Ministry of Health particularly from Zambia National Public Health Institute,” FAZ said in a statement.

“The recent surge in numbers of the Covid-19 occurrences has put a strain on the health system across the board.

“FAZ has been monitoring the situation and also constantly engaging the authorities on the possibilities as the numbers continue to surge.

“One of the major challenges has been the long delays in securing test appointments and results by most of the clubs in the league after being tested which meant that certain matches could not be played due to the inability of clubs to produce results when called upon to do so. Regrettably, with the surge in numbers, it has meant that the flow of results has been slower.

“Unfortunately, despite signing up to observe the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, the compliance levels by most of the clubs have also not been satisfactory. The ZNPHI noted some lapses that they brought to our attention and the clubs affected.

“Among the breaches noted by ZNPHI from our clubs were failure to manage the isolation of players and officials who tested positive, unrestricted access to camping sites, failure to observe social distancing and lack of sanitizers and disinfectants at designated places.”

Meanwhile, the 2020/21 season will kick-off on October 21, and that the ABSA Cup will be played as a precursor to the campaign after the Charity Shield.