Monday Oct 04, 2021. 13:00
The South African Football Association (SAFA) has decided against bidding for the rights to host this year’s edition of the FIFA Club World Cup (CWC).
South Africa considered bidding for the annual tournament, which features a mix of continental club champions and local teams, after Japan pulled out of hosting due to Covid-19 concerns.
However, SAFA this past weekend confirmed that they will not be pursuing this option, citing the challenge of low vaccination rates and supporters in stadiums.
South Africa’s top domestic competitions and national team matches have been played behind closed doors since the onset of the pandemic last year. However, Bafana Bafana will be allowed a very limited number of fans to be in attendance for their 2022 World Cup Qualifier against Ethiopia at FNB Stadium on 12 October.
“With regards to the FIFA Club World Cup, the SAFA NEC said the issue of the short period of time left to bid and put all processes in place was proving a challenge. The FIFA Club World Cup is scheduled to take place in December,” said SAFA in a statement.
“SAFA will liaise with the government regarding the return of fans to the stadiums that is a prerequisite for hosting the Club World Cup. For SA to host the FIFA Club World Cup, the nation needs to reach the 70 percent vaccination threshold.
“SA is currently red-listed by Great Britain where European champions Chelsea will come from, another possible hindrance to the process. Therefore, the NEC resolved that they will not be pursuing the matter of hosting this event.
“With regards to fans returning to the stadiums, the NEC resolved that football should play a major role in the vaccination drive.
“SAFA NEC members will have to be vaccinated and show the vaccination certificates, failure of which one would have to produce a recent negative Covid-19 results whenever they attend meetings.
“Everyone attending SAFA meetings and events including the support staff should also be vaccinated. These include all players playing in the SAFA competitions, referees, coaches and everyone involved.
“Those that do not meet the requirements will not be allowed to participate in any football events. The deadline for this drive is October 30, 2021.
“Meanwhile, only fans that are vaccinated will get free entry into the forthcoming Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup match between SA and Ethiopia, scheduled to take place at FNB Stadium on October 12.
“SAFA’s special member, the NSL, has resolved to use the Soweto Derby to also encourage mass vaccination drive.”