Dr Nasief van der Schyff says PSL games should be suspended

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With the PSL Board of Governors meeting with all the 32 members of the PSL set to take on Thursday – today to decide on the way forward and “take a decision that is in the best interest of football and the nation.”

Dr Nasief van der Schyff  advises SAFA, PSL and the Sports minister, Nathi Mthethwa to suspend all footballing activities, including all PSL games and re-evaluated at a later stage.”

In an email sent to the South African Football Association (SAFA) President Danny Jordaan, Dr van der Schyff, who is a specialist physician and a Senior Lecturer at UCT Head of Department of medicine at Victoria hospital said that Sports minister, Mthethwa, decision that the PSL and GladAfrica Championship games can be played behind closed doors is against “medical best practice and decisions taken by several international sporting bodies, including UEFA and Super Rugby.”

“The concept of playing competitive football behind closed doors in the context of COVID19 has not been shown to be effective, despite other preventative measures being implemented such as hand washing and a no handshake policy,” said Dr van der Schyff.

Dr van der Schyff went on to say that reasons for PSL games to remain suspended are multifactorial with the biggest reason relating to the issue of social distancing. “This is defined as an effort for people to be separated from each other for at least 2 metres,” he said.

“The best way to attain this is to prevent people gathering together in any context, including a competitive PSL match. The reason it is particularly relevant in the South African context is due to the community spread of COVID19 that has already occurred in our country.

According to the doctor, the concept of playing competitive football behind closed doors in the context of COVID19 has not been shown to be effective, despite other preventative measures being implemented such as hand washing and a no handshake policy.

“There are several examples from European football that highlights this point. Some of these include several professional teams in Italy that required entire teams to be quarantined for 2 weeks after playing behind closed doors,” added the Senior lecturer at UCT Head of Department of medicine.

“As a medical professional, the concern I have is that we have a unique patient profile in South Africa, have significant socioeconomic and spatial challenges and our hospitals are already overburdened. The impact of COVID19 in our context has the potential to be much worse than our international counterparts.

“I know that these decisions are very hard and have huge financial and league implications. We have a short window of opportunity in South Africa to work together to “flatten the curve” and minimize the impact of COVID19 in South Africa,” concluded Dr van der Schyff.

By FARPost Reporter 

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