Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa is set to address South Africa on Saturday, providing clarity on what government’s Level 3 lockdown regulations will mean for the country’s sporting community.
This follows the announcement on Thursday from Minister of Cooperative governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that, under the new regulations, professional non-contact sport would be allowed to resume behind closed doors from Monday, 1 June.
According to the regulations for Level 3 of the national lockdown as the fight against the coronavirus continues, any match would only include “players, match officials, journalists and medical and television crew.”
While that announcement has come as good news for some of the country’s codes – cricket, golf, tennis and athletics included – there is still confusion over what the regulations will mean for non-professional sport.
With schools set to return, there will also need to be clarity on the state of school sport under Level 3.
Many of the country’s sporting codes have been placed under significant financial stress as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, and several came together to present a unified voice on Friday and the need to resume social and amateur sport as quickly as possible.
While contact sports bodies like SA Rugby and the South African Football Association (SAFA) are still engaging with government over their own roadmap back to playing, non-contact sport being given the green light does at least allow Cricket South Africa (CSA) to plan for its T20 series against India in August while the organisation could also potentially put together some sort of domestic competition before any other South African code is back on television.
Professional golf, through the Sunshine Tour, would also be allowed to resume though the major talking point on that front is the South African golf community seeking answers from government through the representation of GolfRSA in an attempt to see courses around the country open for business.
Some of the more complex issues would centre around what constitutes exercise.
In Level 3, citizens will be allowed to run and cycle freely if social distancing and other preventative measures like wearing masks are adhered to.
But what about sports like rowing, surfing, canoeing and tennis? Will they be allowed on a social level?
Sport24 contacted a member of the department of sport on Friday, and all we know is that Mthethwa will provide clarity on these matters on Saturday.
Source: Lloyd Burnard