Sunday May 31, 2020. 16:00
The South African Football Association (SAFA) has welcomed the news that teams can begin training under new lockdown regulations, but acknowledges that a return to competitive fixtures is still a way off.
The country will on Monday enter ‘Level 3’ of lockdown measures against the coronavirus, which sees a further relaxation of regulations, including the sale of alcohol, the allowance of exercise throughout the day and the return of non-contact sports, such as cricket and tennis.
On Saturday, Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced that contact sports such as football and rugby, can resume training at ‘Level 3’, though they will first have to write to the ministry and set out their schedule and operational guidelines before doing so.
SAFA, which will hold a Joint Liaison Committee (JLC) meeting on Monday to plot a path forward, are happy that teams can return to some semblance of normality but warned that further patience will be needed before matches can be played.
“We welcome the fact that athletes can start training under strict specific conditions. Furthermore, there are requirements for thorough monitoring of all athletes to ensure full compliance,” said acting CEO Tebogo Motlanthe in a statement.
“It is also clear that contact sport like football and rugby among others cannot resume competitively under alert Level 3 from the Minister’s briefing on Saturday.”
He added, “SAFA welcomes such continued engagements, mindful of the negative financial impact Covid-19 has had on sports in general. Football, rugby and cricket are amongst the major sporting codes that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.”