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5 reasons why PSL 2019-20 Season could be cancelled

COVID-19 is racking havoc in the world and South Africa. The coronavirus has also affected football leagues all around the world. In South Africa, the deadly virus has infected about 1505 people and 7 people have passed away as of the 3rd of April 2020. If you look at the data in other countries embattled with the virus, the virus starts slowly, before you know it the whole country is infected, and the mortality rates increase exponentially each day. Credit for the South African government for initiating a lockdown of the country early to prevent the spread of the virus. This means that it will be hard for the PSL to resume the current 2019-20 PSL season even though the lockdown ends on the 16 of April 2020.

In this article, we will cover reasons why it may be impossible for the PSL to resume the current 2019-20 season:


1. Player match fitness
2. Player Contracts
3. Remaining League and Cup matches
4. Start of the 2020-2021 season
5. Handling Infections of players

Players match fitness

Evidently, if players don't train for a long period of time like during the offseason. Players require pre-season training to get back to full fitness. Pre-season training is usually 1 month-long for professional soccer teams.

Football teams require at least 4 to 6 friendly games to gain match fitness. For example, Liverpool in their 2019 preseason played 9 games, while the average for EPL teams is 6 games.

There is no way league will resume without PSL allocating some sort of time for players to regain their fitness.

Players Contracts

Contracts of player expire in June should the league season play after June they will be contract issues between players and teams. For example, George Maluleka has signed a pre-contract to join Mamelodi Sundowns for the 1st of July 2020.

Remaining League and Cup matches

The PSL league and Nedbank cup matches still need to be played. 

Nedbank cup quarter-finals need to be played, as well as the semi-finals and the final. In the league, Log leaders Kaizer Chiefs are left with 8 games while Mamelodi Sundowns FC and Bidvest Wits FC are left with 9 games. As a result, the PSL will require at least 5 weeks without interruption to conclude the season and another 2 weeks for the Nedbank cup.

A caveat can be thrown at the PSL if the African Nations qualifiers resume at the same time.

Start of the 2020-21 season

The start of the PSL 2020-21 season is usually the first weekend of August 2020. Should this date be moved because of an overlapping season, this could result in a congested 2020-21 season fixture list. This could give advantage to teams like Mamelodi Sundowns that have many quality players sitting on the bench and could disadvantage smaller teams in the PSL with smaller football squads. Another problem could increase player injuries because of little time to rest between competitive games.

Handling Player Infections

Due to the highly infectious nature of the COVID-19 virus, players run the risk of infecting each other players in training and in the game as well as staff members assisting their team. Remember if someone tests positive for the coronavirus, even though they are asymptomatic they would still be required to be quarantined until they test negative. What is going to happen, if one player infects half the team what then, or if a goalkeeper infects the other goalkeepers what will happen, or if the referee's test positive for the virus?

The PSL is a football association and has no vast knowledge of infectious diseases and the PSL will find it extremely difficult to run the league under these tough conditions. Italy has experimented with playing behind closed doors and has failed tremendously. This resulted in the spread of the virus in football teams.


The EPL officials have suspended the league indefinitely. In Belgium, Club Brugge has been crowned champions with one match still to be played. Belgium had a unique situation since they had one game left and mathematically impossible for other teams to catch Club Brugge but PSL with 9 games left, it will be impossible to determine a winner.

Football pundits and officials around the world are calling for leagues to be canceled such as Rio Ferdinand and UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin. In fact, the UEFA chief says if football does not resume in May or June the season will be lost.

The Dutch football federation has been the first country in Europe to propose the canceling of the season. Since, the Netherlands government's decision to ban large gatherings until September amid coronavirus outbreak.

Obviously, economically the PSL wants to restart the season as soon as possible before it runs the risk of losing sponsorships. Sponsorships are the main income stream of the PSL and TV rights, without football, the league will struggle financially.


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