Local football matches to resume

Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has approved plans for the resumption of football.

The plans of the Premier Soccer League have been approved, considering the mitigation strategies and plans in relation to the level 3 risk adjusted strategy in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic

The plans have further been subject to analysis by health authorities and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), who have recommended that the measures put in place by the organisation meet and in some instances, exceed, the required protocol for a safe return to training and to play in a biologically safe environment.

Mthethwa published gazetted directions relating to COVID -19 level 3 regulations on 28 May 2020, which cover the resumption of sport activities.

The different sport bodies are submitting their plans, indicating their state of readiness and the stringent health protocols they will implement, in accordance with the prescribed regulations and directions.

Meanwhile Chief Director Marketing and Communications for Sport Mickey Modisane, told Kickoff Magazine that teams have submitted the dates on when they want to resume with their matches. Modisane further told the Publication that teams can start with their training immediately.

It is for them to take the process forward with regards to engaging everybody else. But what they were required to do from a health and safety protocol, and with regards to the risk assessment, they have to deliver to that expectation.

Modisane furthermore said what the ministry has to do, as and when they deem it necessary, is to make these rounds and go and inspect that what has been written on paper is being put into practice.

The South African Football Association welcomed the return of matches

The South African Football Association has welcomed the news from the Ministry saying it has appointed Chief Medical Officer, Dr Thulani Ngwenya as the Compliance Officer to oversee the appropriate implementation of the whole process and that everything on the protocol document is adhered to.

The initial part of the protocol entails adequate compliance with the return to training part. Once the clubs have fulfilled all the requirements, such as testing of players, support and technical staff, then focus on return to play kicks in.

The return to training also requires sanitising of the training venues, appointment of club compliance officers who will work with Dr Ngwenya and the appointment of a consulting doctor for each club, among other things.

Once the return to training meets all the requirements and the biological safe environment has been identified as stipulated in the protocol, the second part of the return to play kicks in.

The second part of the protocol document, which is the return to play, talks of the biological safe environment, a place that is not a hotspot, has capacity for accommodation for all teams, training and playing venues among other things, to be identified.