Easing of South Africa’s lockdown not applicable to sports


The expected lifting of lockdown in South Africa at the end of the month is unlikely to result in a resumption of sport.

According to Reuters, it would add to frustrations in a country besotted with both football and rugby.

It would be recalled that sport in South Africa and across the world has been shut down since March by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country itself has been subject to a stricter quarantine that will have lasted five weeks by the time it is scheduled to be lifted on April 30.

South Africans have been ordered to stay-at-home, save for essential workers and short trips for grocery shopping.

Matters have been made more difficult by a blanket ban on the sale of both alcohol and tobacco and a prohibition on all sports activities, including a simple walk or bicycle ride.

A draft government presentation, seen by Reuters on Wednesday, is considering some flexibility but suggests any gathering of more than 10 people will be prohibited for an indeterminate period in an effort to keep the infection rate down.

This will come as a blow to football and rugby, who were both hoping to get their seasons back underway.

South Africa’s Premier Soccer League was on the cusp of a potentially exciting title run-in with the country’s best supported club, Kaizer Chiefs edging closer to ending a five-year trophy drought.

Soccer clubs draw majority of their revenue from a lucrative television rights deal and been largely untouched by the Coronavirus lockdown but keen to resume, even if behind closed doors.

But if the game remains in lockdown, South African Football Players Union President, Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe, told Reuters he expected to be negotiating with clubs about possible wage cuts sooner rather than later.

We have flagged it but we are not yet at that point,” he said.

South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa, is expected to announce the new plans in an address on Thursday.