Stadium green-light not far away for sports fans

Empty seats in stadiums have become an all too familiar sight in recent times, but with South Africa moving to level 1 of the lockdown fans will hope they will soon be allowed back to watch their favourite teams in action. Picture: EPA

With President Cyril Ramaphosa confirming the country would be lifted to level one next week, 500 individuals would now be allowed to attend outdoor public gatherings, provided the number of people did not exceed 50% of a venue’s capacity.

Though they will need to show some more patience, there could soon be relief for sport fans, with government expected to unveil additional changes under the latest national lockdown regulations.

With President Cyril Ramaphosa confirming the country would be lifted to level one next week, 500 individuals would now be allowed to attend outdoor public gatherings, provided the number of people did not exceed 50% of a venue’s capacity.

However, while the various changes under the latest regulations included social, religious and political events, they did not yet affect sport events.

At this stage, spectators were still not allowed to attend sports matches, while mass participation events remained suspended, with only 50 people allowed in a specific area at any given time.

Once the changes to sport events under level one had been finalised and gazetted, however, government said they would be released to the public.

“The minister is still consulting on this, but there will be amendments to the current directions in line with government risk strategy alert level one,” said Mickey Modisane, a spokesperson for the department of sport, arts and culture.

“Once that is finalised, the directions will be gazetted and released.”

It was unclear how long it would take to confirm how the new regulations affected the sport industry, as the process was ongoing, but sports minister Nathi Mthethwa would reveal the details once they were confirmed.

“The normal process after the President’s address is for the Minister of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma), as custodian of the Disaster Management Act, to make the first address, then the various sectors which have been affected will follow suit,” Modisane said.

“For now we don’t have a time frame and we don’t want to speculate on that.”

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