It’s been confirmed to the Siya crew that the Premier Soccer League, SAFA and government are in talks to increase the number of spectators at stadiums.
SAFA are still targeting an improvement on adding more bums on seats for Bafana Bafana’s upcoming World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe on November 11, but need health officials to approve their proposal.
Detailing what was discussed, SAFA chief medical officer Dr Thulani Ngwenya confirmed that there are plans to appeal that the government reviews the 2000 fans allowed at sporting events.
“The way forward is for the Health Minister (Joe Phaahla) to unveil the return of spectators in percentages, but I can’t talk about that at the moment,” Ngwenya tells the Siya crew in the latest edition of Soccer Laduma.
“There is a comprehensive plan that has been submitted to the National Coronavirus Command Council. Hopefully it will be adopted and then submitted to cabinet before it is promulgated by the Minister of Cogta – that document talks about percentages.”
Ngwenya highlighted the big takeaways from when Bafana face Ethiopia in their previous qualifier at FNB Stadium earlier this month in front of spectators.
“The lessons we learnt are included. For now, the Moses Mabhida Stadium will only have 2000 fans because the league is very strict when it comes to the regulations. We will then take it from there. As much as we want bigger crowds, we can’t do anything unless there is promulgation of adjusted regulations. We are hoping that by the time we host Zimbabwe, things would have changed. But that depends on the government,” he explained.
The concerns around costs also came up, which affects Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Downs the most because of the crowd numbers they pull in.
Following discussions with the PSL, the SAFA doctor didn’t shy away from elaborating why money spent would have to be taken into account.
“The league can achieve this if these issues (like the ticket system) can be dealt with. One issue is that the process is long, it will take you almost 30 minutes in order for you to make your way to your seat. For that you need marshals,” said Ngwenya.
“You need to pay everyone that is going to help with this process, which you wouldn’t have paid for under normal circumstance. That’s expenditure and it is costly. I don’t have the numbers, but it is costly – Covid has made sport extremely difficult because we have to be extremely cautious in case tomorrow we are called a super spreader contributing to a fourth wave. Clubs are testing every player and staff member – money that they wouldn’t have otherwise budgeted for.”
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