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What now in the Absa Premiership after football is put on hold?

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp

After a national disaster was declared on Sunday night by President, Cyril Ramaphosa, football fans awaited to see what steps towards health and safety the Premier Soccer League would take on Monday, as an emergency press conference was called by Dr. Irvin Khoza.

The meeting took place and football was suspended with immediate effect.

Despite the news being so sudden, it came as a no surprise after 61 coronavirus cases were confirmed, with the number expected to rise rapidly in the coming weeks. Football being played behind closed doors would have been a selfish decision made by those in power to make the call, as the coaches and footballers’ health and safety need to be considered as well.

Dr. Khoza stated that this week’s fixtures have been postponed and that the Board of Governors will meet on Thursday to discuss what happens next.

The likely outcome is to suspend football for another few weeks in the country and hope that the situation regarding COVID-19 simmer down, or, miraculously vanish completely. Realistically speaking, coronavirus just touched base in Mzansi not so long ago, and judging by the rate at which it has spread so far, the global pandemic could only be set to peak in the forthcoming weeks.

Well, where does that leave football? Whether its next week, next month or next year, the Absa Premiership will return some day – but after a lengthy disruption, possibly of months, would it be fair to continue the current campaign? Surely not.

If the league cannot continue, crowning a winner would be impossible, while it will also be impossible to estimate who would be relegated, and vice versa in the GladAfrica Championship.

The sensible thing to do would be to deem the current campaign null and void, which, of course, would see many clubs suffer and take a massive financial hit – but that’s the only protocol to follow should the league be deemed unable to continue in the foreseeable future.

That would see next season pick up where last campaign left off, writing off the current season’s existence. Only in the Absa Premiership and the Nedbank Cup, of course. The Telkom Knockout Cup and MTN8 have already been concluded, therefore, there would be no need to scrap it.

Where does that leave the likes of Kaizer Chiefs? Well, they would probably suffer the most as they’re in touching distance of the league title, ending their current trophy drought, while they would also go back to their position in the log table from last year, which was ninth, having no participation in the next MTN8 tournament.

For Mamelodi Sundowns, they’d have to chase their third league title in a row, for the second season running, which seems crazy, but logical considering the state of the virus in the country and finding a football solution around it.

Orlando Pirates will be the big winners as they’ll be granted CAF Champions League football again, but no more so than TS Galaxy who would have an entry to the CAF Confederations Cup following their Nedbank Cup triumph last year.

Deeming the campaign null and void would be a much better option than finding solutions via a systematic points computer. After all, football is supposed to be decided on the football pitch. If that cannot take place, no outcome should be made. It’s as simple as that.

Written by Jesse Nagel