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Sithembiso Dindi
2 minute read
24 Apr 2021
06:21

Fans ‘could be allowed into South African stadiums soon’

Sithembiso Dindi

The return of South African fans to sports stadiums around the country may happen sooner than we think.

The return of South African fans to sports stadiums around the country may happen sooner than we think.

This is according to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president, Barry Hendricks. This follows a draft plan submitted by Sascoc to sports minister, Nathi Mthethwa early this month in a bid to get fans back in stadiums.

Hendricks on Friday told Weekend Witness that they have had meetings with the national joint committee from Thursday to discuss this possibility. The last meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday.

Teams in South Africa and around the world have been playing behind closed doors for a long time now as mass gatherings are prohibited due to Covid-19 regulations.

However, a few countries such as England have started to welcome back a limited number of fans to stadiums after they eased their Covid-19 restrictions.

“Yes, we are really missing our fans. It is also a big financial loss to clubs not having them at the ground.”
Maritzburg United boss Farouk Kadodia

In South Africa, a lot of restrictions have been relaxed as the country is under Level 1, but supporters are still prevented from watching sports in stadiums.

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) has been negotiating to enable fans to attend the British and Irish Lions tour scheduled to take place in July and August.

An attempt by the Bulls to have a certain number of fans allowed to watch the Currie Cup final between the Pretoria-based franchise and the Sharks was not successful.

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In February Mthethwa was quoted in media as saying sport was one of those industries that will find itself at the tail-end of the entire process of opening up sectors of the economy.

Maritzburg United boss Farouk Kadodia said the absence of fans has not only robbed the club of its 12th man but has also left the side and other sports franchises in serious financial crisis.

“Yes, we are really missing our fans. It is also a big financial loss to clubs not having them at the ground,” said Kadodia.

“I think it would be possible to have a limited number of spectators attend games in a safe way, but it looks like the PSL is waiting for clearance to have a 100% allowance of fans, whenever that might come.

“So, we will just have to wait and see what happens.”