Health minister Joe Phaahla has welcomed the SA Football Association’s (Safa’s) recommendation for vaccinated spectators at stadiums and has asked the two parties to urgently work together to finalise the logistics.
Further details will be announced at a joint media conference of the health ministry and Safa in Pretoria on Friday.
In a meeting at Safa House on Monday attended by a delegation from the ministry led by Phaahla and Safa president Danny Jordaan, the return of fans to stadiums was welcomed as a win-win situation.
The move will support the vaccination drive and encourage taxi drivers who drive spectators to the stadiums and those who sell wares to the fans to get vaccinated.
Phaahla said he was appreciative of football’s support for mass vaccinations while helping people in the informal sector earn a living at venues.
“This is music in my ears. It is a win-win situation, it will spur all and sundry, the clubs, players and the football business. We also want other sectors of the economy to return to normalcy if the majority of the population is vaccinated — sectors such as tourism and restaurants. So I am here to embrace and fully support Safa’s initiative,’’ he said. “By getting vaccinated, life can return to what it used to be and people can get along with their normal daily lives.”
Jordaan said Safa was committed to seeing South Africans getting fully vaccinated and will use football to speed up the process.
He said the pilot project of fans returning to stadiums on October 12 during the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Ethiopia should herald the beginning of spectators fully returning to stadiums.
He reiterated the “no vaccination, no entry” stance, saying all Safa stakeholders needed to be vaccinated by October 30 to participate in football matters.