16 March 2020 – The State President, the Hon., Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, has declared the coronavirus disease a national disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act. In his announcement, he outlined measures that will be taken to minimize the risk of spreading the virus by limiting contact amongst groups of people. As a result, gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited.
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 without spectators. This response has not proven to be effective in minimizing the spread of the virus. In Europe, some players who were participating in matches “behind closed doors” have recently been found to be positive. Therefore, we do not believe that the practice of playing behind closed doors is effective.
Following on our statement of last week in which we had indicated that it was not necessary to postpone or suspend the domestic football program at that stage, circumstances have changed drastically for the worse. Government has called on all stakeholders to take all necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus.
On behalf of the National Executive Committee of the South African Football Association (SAFA), all members of SAFA are advised to suspend and/or postpone all football matches and football events that are attended by more 100 people in the country until further notice.
We will be in contact with the Health Authorities and we will be reviewing the situation on an on-going basis. Members will be advised on a continuous basis accordingly. This is our effort to promote the health and safety of all our members including players, officials, sponsors and staff.
We hope you will find this to be in order and we are looking forward to your co-operation.
– SAFA Acting Chief Executive Officer
Mr Thamsanqa Gay Mokoena