The commencement of Level 4 lockdown on 1 May, Friday has raised the issue of when football will restart in South Africa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week five levels of lockdown regulations in hopes of helping to curb the deadly coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world.
South Africa’s infections have jumped rapidly this past week with 297 new Covid-19 cases confirmed on Thursday.
With Level 4 lockdown restrictions starting on Friday, the South African Football Association (SAFA) has released a statement and has acquired further information from two medical experts.
“SAFA has taken note of the above and has further invited the opinion of two medical experts to submit reports on when it would be safe to resume playing football in our country (see the reports by clicking here and here),” the statement read.
“SAFA will submit a full report to the world football governing body, FIFA on the impact of Covid-19 on football in our country and when SAFA believes it will be safe to resume football again.
“SAFA will work with the government led by the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Minister Nathi Mthethwa in this process.
“As things stand, the two experts argue that football can only be played on Level 1 but still without spectators and that all clubs must have full-time Sports Doctors to manage the Covid-19 situation.”
IN SUMMARY HERE IS WHAT THE TWO MEDICAL EXPERTS SAY:
Playing football requires travelling, including from one province to the other and that cannot be achieved under Level 4.
Another issue is the social distancing factor – football is a contact sport where ‘we cannot social distance’.
Conducive playing environment needs:
- To sanitise the venues – both the training and match venues
- To thoroughly screen all the players including the technical and support staff before any games are played.
- For it to be safe, the recommendation is to test everyone involved for Covid-19 rather than just screening.
- The screening should be done on a daily basis because the virus can at times be dormant and not show any symptoms when someone could be carrying the virus. Players are discouraged from using the dressing room and must shower at home.
- Clubs must arrange that players do not use public transport when football resumes.
- The players should not share drinking bottles.
- The technical and support staff must always wear masks.
- The kit manager must always wear medical gloves when collecting and distributing the kit.
– Compiled by Sport24 staff