South African Football Association (Safa) President, Danny Jordaan said he does not believe that fans will return to local football stadiums any time soon due to the spike in Covid-19 cases. He said the nation remains on Level one of the national lockdown but it has been adjusted in some hotspot areas after South Africa entered into a second wave of coronavirus infections. Sports fans are still prohibited from attending live matches.
“If you look at what is happening in Europe‚ they started bringing fans back to stadiums but they were forced to reverse their decisions because of the second wave of Covid-19‚” said Jordaan.
Only television broadcasters and photographers are allowed at local stadiums but journalists and radio commentators remain are prohibited from covering Premier Soccer League matches at venues. The topflight and lower tier programmes were completed in a bio-bubble last season. Cricket‚ rugby and netball have also returned to play but without fans.
“This is an uncertain period and I cannot tell you that from this day onwards football fans will be back inside the stadiums. But the only thing that we can ask is let us observe the regulations and the rules because the next month or two are going to be extremely tough for all of us as South Africans,” said Jordaan.
“If we comply and we do the things that are required of us‚ we may see us getting to grips with this Covid-19. At the moment‚ if you read on what is happening‚ I don’t think that fans will be able to go to stadiums. We’ll have to wait and see over the next two months‚ hope there will be a decline in the number of infections and also hope that the vaccine will be available. Maybe then we will see some return to normal life and possibly fans returning to the stadiums.”
Bulls chief executive Edgar Rathbone said rugby remains committed to bringing fans back because stadiums can allow for social distancing and general adhering of health and safety protocols. Some members of the Bulls squad and management tested positive for Covid-19‚ forcing the cancelation of their Currie Cup match against the Griquas in Kimberly on Saturday.
“I think for the rugby economy it is important to have spectators back in the stadiums. If you look at our stadiums [and how] they are designed‚ there is space and I think in terms of social distancing and adhering to protocols it should be easy to do that. It is still a priority to get fans back in the stadiums and hopefully this does not affect it,” said Rathbone.