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Breakthrough On Fans Returning To Stadiums

There’s an update on discussions around spectators returning to the stadium to watch local football after more than 19 months!

Indications are that the Premier Soccer League hierarchy, led by acting CEO Mato Madlala, met with their SAFA counterparts for a debrief on their own pilot project that saw fans watch Bafana Bafana against Ethiopia in a World Cup qualifier two weeks ago.

While the greenlight given by Health Minister Joe Phaahla was for 2000 supporters, Dr Thulani Ngwenya confirmed that the number ended up being a little below that target owing to logistics and some tickets being allocated to SAFA partners.

Either way, the test was deemed a success, although the protocols followed were quite strict and took up to 30 minutes for fans to finally take their seats at the FNB Stadium after being screened and their vaccination cards checked, Ngwenya confirmed.

It’s now understood the PSL, ahead of their own attempt to get spectators into the Moses Mabhida Stadium for the MTN8 final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City in Durban, this week held a meeting with SAFA to tap into their experience.

Fans have not been at any of the local football venues since March last year when the first few cases of Covid-19 were detected, with President Cyril Ramaphosa ordering the hard level 5 lockdown to restrict movement and curb the spread of the virus.

Up to now, the PSL games have been played behind closed doors with the entire 2020/21 season starting and concluding without the presence of spectators.

This could all change on October 30 in the MTN8 final, but beyond that it’s not yet clear whether the league will do more test projects while South Africa remains on level 1 with the restrictions currently eased due to the low Covid numbers.

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