Sports bodies put it all on hold
Football, cricket, athletics, tennis, boxing, netball and golf’s Sunshine Tour respond to national emergency
The SA Football Association (Safa)‚ Cricket SA‚ Athletics SA‚ Tennis SA‚ Boxing SA‚ Netball SA and the Sunshine Tour have suspended activities because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national emergency in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus that has so far killed 6‚500 globally.
Safa‚ Cricket SA‚ Athletics SA‚ Tennis SA‚ Boxing SA and golf’s Sunshine Tour on Monday suspended their activities with immediate effect to bring sports in the country to a grinding halt.
Safa acting CEO Gay Mokoena said the association has advised the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to suspend the Premiership and first division GladAfrica Championship.
But‚ he said‚ Safa will respect the PSL’s decision to suspend matches for the coming week pending the meeting of the league’s board of governors on Thursday. The league is seeking clarification from the government on Ramaphosa’s prohibition of gatherings of more than 100 people‚ regarding closed-doors matches.
In a statement‚ Mokoena said: “This measure has a direct impact on all our football activities‚ particularly matches as most if not all our matches are attended by more than 100 people. Some of the football authorities elsewhere in the world have taken measures such as playing matches in ‘empty’ stadiums. This response has not proven to be effective in minimising the spread of the virus.”
Tennis SA said they have suspended their events at all levels and will work closely with partners to determine suitable dates of resumption.
“We will work closely with our partners and all stakeholders‚ regional and provincial associations‚ to determine suitable optional dates‚ with the goal of enabling the resumption of playing opportunities across each category as soon as the situation allows‚” said Tennis SA CEO Richard Glover.
Cricket SA said their activities at first-class‚ List A‚ semi-professional‚ provincial and junior and amateur cricket have been suspended for the next 60 days.
“We take this pronouncement by the president very seriously and we will most certainly use our leverage to ensure that we minimise the impact of the virus in our spaces‚” said Cricket SA acting CEO Jacques Faul.
The Momentum One Day Cup semifinals between the Dolphins and Knights on Tuesday and the Lions and Warriors on Wednesday have been suspended.
Netball SA president Cecilia Molokwane and her executive members took a unanimous decision to suspend planned activities scheduled for March and April with immediate effect.
“The team will reconvene again in 30 days to assess the situation and inform members of the media and the public on next steps‚” Molokwane said.
“Some of our national team players who are currently playing in Australia and England are in self-isolation following their respective leagues being suspended. Further announcements regarding this will be made by April 17 2020.”
Boxing SA also followed suit by cancelling all the events that were sanctioned for March and April with immediate effect.
“The tournaments that were already sanctioned will no longer be taking place and no application for new tournaments will be accepted until further clarity is received from the National Command Council in terms of how long the national state of disaster is likely to last‚” a Boxing SA statement read.