Suppliers of soccer kit and equipment will hopefully know on Thursday May 7th if and when soccer training can resume in South Africa. PSL chairman, dr Irvin Khoza, confirmed this weekend that the league is in talks with Government about the resumption of the 2019/20 soccer season.
Tennis SA is also in discussion with Government and other sporting codes about resuming non-contact sport activities.
FIFA has issued a directive for football to go ahead – on condition that the leagues receive permission from their respective governments.
“The prospect of resuming football competitions in South Africa will be largely influenced by our collective resolve to flatten the curve and reduce new infections and deaths,” SA Football Association (SAFA) said in a statement. The federation also confirms they are awaiting a further announcement from President Cyril Ramaphosa. “The announcement will give us an indication when it would be safe to resume domestic competitions.”
The federation stresses that “the first priority is to get club football underway as soon as it is possible.”
Relief funding for sports federations has also been discussed with the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa.
Apart from discussing relief funding with the South African government, SA Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan also met with FIFA to discuss, among other things, relief funding. “Both the SA government and FIFA have undertaken to provide relief funding and we await both decisions from the two,” says SAFA.
The minister had announced in March that R150-m had been set aside as a relief fund for the sports, arts and culture sector to assist athletes and artists facing dire circumstances due to the pandemic. About 5 000 applications had been received from artists.
But, fewer than a third (only 90) of the more than 300 athletes who applied for the relief funding had succeeded in receiving funding by May 1st, Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced. The sport adjudicating committee is still processing the other applications. The successful applicants came from various sporting codes, including sport for the physically disabled, netball, gymnastics, etc.
Internationally, all international and continental soccer federations (FIFA, IOC, UEFA, CAF etc.) agreed that final competitions for the World Cup qualifiers, Olympics, Euro Finals will be postponed until 2021. This is in line with the suggestions from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that international matches should only commence in 2021.
Domestic competitions have been postponed or cancelled in most countries. In the UK Pemier League clubs were recently told during an online conference that the season could only be completed if up to ten neutral stadiums are used for the 92 outstanding games behind closed doors. The Premier League said they will need about 40 000 tests for players and staff to ensure their safety.
Tennis talks about resuming
Tennis SA (TSA) is also currently discussing with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture to establish when this non-contact sport can resume in some form. “TSA is also actively collaborating with other sports in South Africa – with the common objective of seeing an easing of the regulations in the context of sport and physical activity – as soon as is reasonably possible,” the federation says.
Until more clarity had been given, TSA will not be releasing a revised tournament or activity schedule. “However, one decision that has been made is that the Schools Weeks (High Schools and Primary Schools Inter-provincial tournaments) will not take place in June. The schools committee are considering alternative dates, later in the year, for these events.”
In the US some golf clubs and tennis courts were recently allowed to open and Denmark allowed the resuming of all golf and tennis play towards the end of April. In Austria non-contact sports like athletics, tennis, golf, equestrian and shooting sports and archery were resumed this past weekend, while Scotland is considering allowing tennis and golf activities.