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Sascoc will push for stadiums to host fans at half capacity from next month

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) will recommend to the government that stadiums host vaccinated fans at half of their capacities from next month.

EFF leader Julius Malema at the weekend called on the Premier Soccer League to challenge current regulations that have limited attendance at stadiums for professional sports to 2‚000 as a precaution against Covid-19.

Various sporting codes have argued that having 2‚000 spectators inside stadiums does not make financial sense as it does not allow teams to cover the costs of hosting a crowd‚ and Sascoc will present a case for venues to be allowed to host significantly increased numbers.

Malema’s comments received a groundswell of support from sport fans across the country and on Tuesday the Department of Health said they were open to engaging relevant stakeholders on the matter.

“There is a task team in place at Sascoc that deals with issues related to the return of fans to stadiums‚” Sascoc president Barry Hendricks told TimesLive on Wednesday.

“They are going to get together later this week where discussions on how we are going to reduce the current Covid-19 restrictions are going to be held.

“From the Sascoc point of view‚ we are looking to at having at least 50 percent fans inside stadiums but what is important is that those spectators must be vaccinated. That’s is our position.”

Hendricks said the committee is due to meet this week. He said he believes Sascoc’s request would not be unreasonable because the a similar stand has been adopted at the current Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

“The committee is meeting later this week but I am not in a position to give an indication of when they are going to meet with the Minister of Sport‚ Nathi Mthethwa‚” he said.

“The way matters are unraveling nationally‚ we can safely look at February to get the necessary amendments to the Disaster Management Act in place by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

“We have already consulted. If you look at what is happening at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) you can see that fans are allowed in stadiums and some of those venues are almost full.

“We want to move in that direction. It is a pity that we couldn’t have fans in the ongoing Test series between SA and India. We would have loved to see fans there but let’s follow process and see where we end up.”

Sporting events where limited numbers of fans have been allowed back to stadiums have included Bafana Bafana’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.

There were a limited number of spectators for the MTN8 final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City in Durban and an ODI between the Proteas and Netherlands.

Professional sports was shut down by the onset of Covid-19 in March 2020‚ with government regulations allowing 2‚000 vaccinated supporters back to stadiums as a first step towards allowing the return of crowds.

Football clubs have said they cannot cover the costs of allowing just 2‚000 supporters in a stadium.

In the current cricket Test series between SA and India‚ only limited suite tickets have been available‚ but not for the general public.

That was at the request of India‚ regarding the bio-bubble provisions asked for by the touring team.

Fans were allowed into the United Rugby Championship (URC) matches before the Omicron variant and fourth wave hit SA in December.

– TimesLIVE


Source: ARENA Holdings.