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‘Sports bodies must make submissions’ to allow more fans at sporting events, says Health Department

‘Sports bodies must make submissions’ to allow more fans at sporting events, says Health Department. File Picture: Master Mosunkutu

‘Sports bodies must make submissions’ to allow more fans at sporting events, says Health Department. File Picture: Master Mosunkutu

Published Jan 13, 2022

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DURBAN - THE Department of Health said yesterday that it was up to sporting bodies to make submissions to the government if they wanted more fans to be allowed to attend sport events.

According to the existing Covid-19 regulations only 2 000 fans are allowed at sporting events.

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As the country is in lockdown level 1, there have been calls for more sports fans to be allowed back into stadiums.

The Department of Health said yesterday the final decision on allowing more fans at events lay with the National Coronavirus Command Council.

But Foster Mohale, spokesperson for the Department of Health, said sporting bodies could make submissions if they wanted more fans to be able to attend events.

“Sporting bodies need to send their submission for allowing more fans into stadiums to the Department of Sport, Art and Culture and from there it will be the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs that will make the necessary amendment to allow more fans. However, the final decision will always be with the National Coronavirus Command Council.”

Mohale added that the Department of Health will be responsible for the health guidelines under which vaccinated sport fans are allowed to attend sporting events.

“Our part as the Department of Health will also include providing the correct health protocols and allowing vaccinated fans to attend sporting events. This process will use the Electronic Vaccination Data System for verification of vaccinated fans.”

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Dominic Chimhavi, spokesperson for the SA Football Association (Safa), said that the association’s position was that it would follow the guidelines set out by the government.

“We don’t make the law and don’t come up with suggestions for allowing more fans to watch football matches at stadiums.

“We implement what the government decides on doing. In November we had a World Cup qualifier where Bafana Bafana played Zimbabwe and 2 000 fans were allowed to watch the match in accordance with the guidelines set out by the government. That is our stance as Safa.”

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While Cricket SA (CSA) did not respond to questions yesterday, in a statement last week it explained that the decision not to sell tickets for the current series between the Proteas and India was due to the necessity of not compromising the bio-secure environment that the teams are playing under.

It added that it had, however, been contractually obliged to issue hospitality tickets to its commercial partners and guests travelling with Team India.

“Therefore, attendance of matches by commercial partners is a contractual commercial deliverable, in pursuance of partner obligations. No hospitality tickets are being sold nor are available for sale.”

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CSA added that it was hopeful that fans would soon be able to attend live matches and enjoy their sport of choice.

“CSA regrets that cricket fans are presently not able to attend matches, owing to the restrictions that have been occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic and very specific conditions of a bio-secure environment. ”

Mark Alexander, president of the SA Rugby Union, said a national committee was dealing with the issue of fans attending events.

“Government has set up a sub-committee that is dealing with the re-entry of fans into sporting events. It’s not for just one sport but for all events.”

THE MERCURY

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