Cost of Covid-19 testing crippling clubs financially
Attempts by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to complete the season may hit a snag as most clubs in the National First Division (NFD) are now warning that the costs of observing the coronavirus health and safety protocols could prevent them from conducting a second round of Covid-19 testing.
Most clubs in the NFD have already conducted a first round of testing of their players and essential staff, but they may not be able to do the second round because of the cost. Some NFD officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said the first round of testing and observing stringent Covid-19 protocols has cost between R45,000 and R60,000‚ depending on the number of people tested.
“To be honest‚ it’s very expensive to do all these Covid-19 health and safety protocols. We need help from government or the PSL because some of us may not be able to do the second round‚” said the first official.
All 32 clubs in the PSL and NFD are expected to have done at least two rounds of testing of players and staff before they report for the base camp to complete their seasons.
“At our club‚ we have already done one round of testing and one test cost R850 per person. So if you have about 35 to 40 people who must be tested‚ it is not a cheap exercise. You must remember we didn’t budget for this.
“We need help from the league or even government because the department of sport has the relief fund. No-one has said anything to us and you must remember we still have to pay salaries of players and staff‚” said a second official.
A third official said the costs do not end with testing as several other things must be done to ensure players are safe and the training environment is conducive. “We are not only expected to test players‚ but we are also expected to buy sanitisers, masks‚ gloves and new water bottles … these things were not in our budgets and they are not cheap.
“We have a board of governors [BoG] meeting [on Tuesday] and I hope there is clarity on what is going to happen going forward because we can’t go on like this.
“The reality is that our club — and I know that many others — cannot afford all these things for a sustained period of time. We don’t even know what will be happening next season‚” the third club official said.
PSL spokesperson Lux September said all the clubs must wait for the board of governors meeting on Tuesday.