All systems go for season restart – SAFA

The South African Football Association (SAFA) has confirmed that three match officials tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the restart of the 2019-20 season, but that all are asymptomatic.

SAFA Medical Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, Dr Thulani Ngwenya, says the positive tests will have no bearing on the restart of the campaign, which is scheduled for August 8 with the Nedbank Cup semifinals.

“Only three referees tested positive for Covid-19 but are all asymptomatic. We are monitoring them on a daily basis and they are quarantining on the other wing of the hotel,” Dr Ngwenya said on Tuesday.

He confirmed that all other match officials were working hard on their fitness and would be ready for the resumption of the campaign, with league fixtures set to start on August 11.

This will be in the top two tiers of South African football, which has meant SAFA have called on some 110 match officials to enter the bio-bubble in Gauteng.

Meanwhile, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan has welcomed the restart of the campaign.

“I would like to thank the NSL [National Soccer League] chairman [Dr Irvin Khoza] and the entire Board of Governors for helping put this matter to rest,” Jordaan said.

“We will now witness the ultimate and fair conclusion to the current and unique season, and I am sure the football-loving fans can’t wait for football to resume again.”