After being grounded for four months, sporting bodies, national teams and clubs return to controlled training and playing.
Sports people are returning to the field, following the coronavirus-imposed shutdown of sporting activities in South Africa and across the globe.
Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has given the go-ahead for non-contact and contact sports to resume training. Non-contact sports can also resume play under stringent health and safety conditions. One of the more significant regulations is that fans are not allowed at games or practices.
Cricket South Africa’s Chief Medical Officer Shuaib Manjra says the high-performance training squad, which is mainly made up of Proteas players, has resumed non-contact training, following the implementation of measures to protect players and staff from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Manjra says they have worked with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases to ensure their protocols are appropriate. Prevention measures include the regular testing of players and support staff, promoting personal hygiene measures and creating a sanitised ecosystem.
“COVID-19 compliance managers at each venue have assumed responsibility to ensure all the elements of the protocols are implemented,” he says.
The Proteas’ training sessions are closed to the public and games will also to be played behind closed doors.
The Department of Sports, Arts Culture (DSAC) has announced that the following professional sports are also allowed to resume training and host matches: Premier Soccer League, the South African Anglers and Casting Confederation; SA Gymnastics Federation, Tennis SA, SA National Climbing Federation, Canoeing SA and Swimming SA.
Spokesperson for the DSAC Masechaba Khumalo says: “These sport bodies have submitted their plans, indicating their state of readiness and their commitment to adhere to stringent health protocols that they will implement in accordance with the prescribed regulations and directions.”
The department has published a circular that gives directions on what these sporting codes must do to be allowed to resume their activities.
According to the circular, non-contact sporting codes must keep a register containing the details of athletes, support staff and match official for at least six months. They must also ensure that all people who enter sport venues are screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
The fields and dressing rooms must be disinfected before any sporting activity takes place and athletes must declare that, according to the best of their knowledge, they are COVID-19 free.