League mulls matches behind closed doors

League mulls matches behind closed doors

MASERU-THE Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) chairman Ikarabele Sello has flaunted the possibility of league matches being played behind closed doors as the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues.

Last week the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) and PLMC postponed all football in the country due to the virus and had projected April 4 as a resumption date.
However, Sello said the two parties are set to meet discuss the option of continuing with Econet Premier League matches before next weekend.
At the moment there remains no confirmed coronavirus case in Lesotho but Sello said the PLMC is monitoring the situation.

What Sello did concede, however, is that the league season will not finish in May as had been planned and will have to be extended, especially if games cannot restart next weekend, April 4.
“We have not decided yet, we are going to meet and we will know then,” Sello told thepost.
“We have to look at the situation in the country, we don’t have a (COVID-19) case yet but we could look at a possibility of playing without spectators,” he said.
However, Sello admitted it is unlikely football will resume in the foreseeable future.

“As a human being looking at the situation, the virus keeps going and I don’t think we will be able to (play matches),” Sello said. “I don’t feel it can happen looking at how the numbers keep going up.”
South Africa already has over 700 COVID-19 cases, the most on the continent.

Sello said the PLMC would not force the league season to conclude by stipulated time as they are looking at people’s lives first.
Despite no coronavirus cases in Lesotho, government has already ordered schools to shut down, banned gatherings of more than 100 people and advised social distancing.
The Econet Premier League is left with eight rounds of matches until its conclusion.

Bantu leads the standings with 50 points, 16 points ahead of defending champions Matlama who are in second place.
Sello said there are no rules in Lesotho football which address what should happen in the event the league season is voided because of COVID-19.
He said there are no parameters for how the league title and relegation from the Econet Premiership should be decided. Sello said if the situation doesn’t change and the PLMC is forced to void the season they will have to look to what CAF and FIFA say is the best course of action.

Football across the world has been suspended and major sporting events such as the Olympic Games have also been postponed to later dates due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has not only affected the global economy, but has claimed thousands of lives across the world.
Not only did LEFA suspend football activities, it also ordered teams to release players and stop with training sessions.
If the football season was to resume again clubs would be given time to prepare.

Tlalane Phahla

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