The director-general of the department of Sport and Arts & Culture, Vusumuzi Mkhize, says contact sport in South Africa will resume at level 1 of the lockdown.
At a briefing on Saturday, sports minister Nathi Mthethwa provided information on return-to-play protocols for all sports as South Africa prepares to move to level 3 of lockdown on 1 June, confirming that professional athletes who participate in contact and non-contact sport can start training on Monday.
Mkhize then announced that contact sport will only be allowed to resume once the country is moves to level-1 lockdown restrictions before emphasising that these protocols are valid only for elite, professional athletes, who earn a living from their participation in sport. Recreational sport is not included.
In mid-May, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux suggested the return to play for both provincial and international rugby would be in the interest of all South Africans as it would boost national morale.
‘We do not run hospitals or build ventilators and we are not an industry that is critical to the South African economy, but we do believe that we add huge value to national life in other ways,’ he said.
‘The sight of the Springboks running out for the first time since winning the Rugby World Cup would be a powerful milestone on the nation’s journey to the other side of this crisis as well as being a boost for national morale.
‘While the return to play of our provincial teams – even if it is behind closed doors – would similarly be hugely beneficial to a nation in lockdown.
‘We understand that there are bigger agendas at play but believe the risk of transmission could be well managed by our protocols. We trust the minister and government will view our case seriously.’
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