14 April 2020 – The South African Football Association (SAFA) has taken note of the comments by Victor Montagliani, a Canadian who is president of the governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean who has been heading a FIFA working group formulating plans to deal with the implications of football being largely shut down since last month.
There are a number of issues requiring our attention:
- THE PERIOD OF LOCKDOWN: We have noticed that most European countries including Russia and France have not only intensified the regulations on people’s movement during the lockdown but also extended the period of lockdown to May 2020. We have noticed that the lockdown in South Africa has been extended until the end of April with the clear warning that the period of lockdown and free movement should not be viewed as switch which can be turned on and off. The President and Minister of Health have given clear instructions and leadership on this matter which SAFA urged all its members to follow and observe. We do not expect an abrupt end to the lockdown but rather a phase-out approach. SAFA will therefore await further announcement leading to the 30 April 2020.
- INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS: It is also common knowledge that international matches require international flights. A high number of our international players (Bafana Bafana, U23, Banyana Banyana etc) are playing overseas.
We have taken note of FIFA’s international position that international matches (could possibly only resume in 2021. We will consult with the Minister of Transport on the matter of international travel.
SAFA’s national teams can therefore not be assembled unless international flights are reinstated.
- DOMESTIC COMPETITION AND DOMESTIC FLIGHTS: It is also clear that domestic competitions can only be preceded with on two conditions; that Government declaration that it is safe to do so and that domestic flights are reinstituted.
These conditions depend on a declaration by the Government on the period of lockdown and depending on normal operations by domestic airlines as well as other service providers to the football industry.
- FOOTBALL FANS: Virtually all the FAs globally have accepted that football competitions are not possible even behind closed doors, hence the whole world stopped all sporting activities. We believe that the return of fans to the stadiums should coincide with the availability of the vaccine for Covid-19. In this regard we note that tests have already commenced in various parts of the world.
- FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENT: Football is an activity business based on the health of the participants, a point FIFA President, Gianni Infantino emphasised this week. If there is any threat to the health of the players, there should not be any football.
SAFA will approach both the Government and the world governing body, FIFA for financial assistance during this period of serious financial challenges.
In the interim, SAFA calls on all of its members and supporters to cooperate with government in assisting in the process of testing and identifying Covid-19 positive individuals. We reiterate the support for the identification, testing and treatment of all of our people for Covid-19 virus. We all belong to the same team and we need to defeat the enemy.
Stay at home. Wash your hands. Maintain social distance and keep safe.
Issued by the Communications Department: SAFA
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