SAFA welcomes Sports Minister's clarity on way forward for soccer

SAFA welcomes Sports Minister's clarity on way forward for soccer”

The South African Football Association (Safa) has welcomed Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa's decision to allow contact and non-contact sport to resume training under Level 3 of the lockdown.

Contact sports will have to provide detailed plans and get approval from the government to ensure the safety of players and officials before they can resume training, said Mthethwa.

The minister says within 14 days of gazetting these regulations, sports managers will have to write to the department detailing a plan of activities, and assurance that athletes and technical staff will be tested prior to the resumption of activity. Conditions include the mandatory screening of athletes.

"This is the news sport has been waiting to hear as it allows us to begin to ramp up preparations for an eventual return-to-play", said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.

Meanwhile, the Covcom is also expected to garner input with regards to what SA Rugby representatives should consider in its further consultations with government, particularly in terms of what additional regulations would be required for franchise's to eventually commence with contact training.

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South Africa's Super Rugby teams have been out of action since the southern hemisphere club competition was postponed in mid-March.

Moreover, this means there could be a possible delay in the return of football matches until at the least July, as teams will require some time to prepare adequately before the restart of official matches.

Cash-strapped SA Rugby has announced salary cuts of between 25% and 43%, including for its players, this month in an effort to save up to $70 million.

'We do not run hospitals or build ventilators and we are not an industry that is critical to the South African economy, but we do believe that we add huge value to national life in other ways, ' he said.

'We understand that there are bigger agendas at play but believe the risk of transmission could be well managed by our protocols. The ban on the sale of cigarettes, one of the most contentious issues in the country, will remain in place until level 1. They include nearly all of the major sporting cities: Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

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