LESOTHO Football Association (LeFA) secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi says it is still unclear what will happen to the domestic leagues in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) induced lockdown.
The local leagues have been on suspension since mid-March just before the government declared a state of emergency and subsequently imposed a national lockdown. The lockdown started on 30 March and was supposed to have ended on 21 April. It was however, extended to Tuesday but it is still unclear whether or not there will be a further extension.
Although Lesotho has not recorded any cases, the authorities are on high alert to avoid possible spread of the virus considering that neighbouring South Africa has now recorded nearly 6 000 cases and 116 deaths. Globally, infections are over 3.4 million while over 240 000 deaths have been recorded.
The pandemic has brought the sporting world to a standstill, with the world’s biggest sporting event- the Olympics-being shelved for next year. The Olympics were meant to be held in Tokyo in July and August this year.
Similarly, Lesotho’s sporting activities, including soccer have all been put on ice.
Speculation has been rampant in different countries over the fate of soccer leagues with the French League 1 on Friday deciding to award Paris Saint-Germain the title through a points-per-game system. The system took into account the performance of clubs in the matches already played to determine the final standings in the Ligue 1 table.
Mohapi told the Sunday Express on Wednesday that they are still looking at their options along with the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC).
“On Monday 27 April 2020, the LeFA national executive committee (NEC) and the PLMC met to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the soccer season,” Mohapi said.
“Both the NEC and the PLMC have observed that there are four probable scenario that can be looked forward to. These are:
- At the very worst case the season being aborted. This will render all matches played in the leagues void and therefore no team will be considered for neither promotion nor relegation. No champion will be declared.
- The second option is to extend the season. This means that instead of ending the leagues by 31 May 2020, some games would be played later.
- The third option is that league matches may be played without spectators at designated stadia only. This would be effected if the government eases restrictions on the lockdowns and downscales the risks. However, only players, club officials, match officials, medical personnel and few media practitioners would attend the matches under extremely stringent measures.
- The last option is that matches could be played at designated stadia with spectators. This option is highly improbable given that the Coronavirus continues to spread in other countries.”
He said the decision that LeFA will end up taking would be informed by the advice that they receive from the government.
“We will rely on what the government directs us to do in its pursuit of avoiding a possible spread of the virus.
“Both the NEC and PLMC are aware of the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the clubs and are brainstorming on what form of relief LeFA can roll out,” Mohapi said.