SA Rugby hopes it can meet government’s safety criteria and resume matches behind closed doors before the lockdown reaches alert level 1.
South Africa went from Covid-19 alert level 5 to level 4 last Friday, but sporting activities can only resume once the country drops to level 1, according to the regulations.
The South African Football Association has accepted that local football leagues can only return once the country is able to lower its alert to level 1. However, SA Rugby is far more optimistic about starting earlier.
The rugby governing body last Thursday presented their ideas to government as they would like to see a local competition resume in empty stadiums.
‘In our presentation to them, we said we’d like them to consider the concept of rugby being played behind closed doors,’ SA Rugby’s medical manager, Clint Readhead, told the Sunday Times.
‘We understand there are a lot of government restrictions that need to be lifted before we get there. We don’t want to be lagging when that happens in terms of fitness and strength.’
Readhead added he believes there can be sufficient safety measures put in place to allow top-level rugby to be played behind closed doors.
‘From a professional perspective, we can control things a lot better. Because of that level of control, we may be able to play matches behind closed doors before alert level 1.
‘As long as government is saying that there will be no close contact, which is defined by spending more than 15 minutes within a metre of somebody, we just have to focus on what we can do now, like getting back to training,’ Readhead added. ‘It is about controlling what we can.
‘While rugby may not be considered as an industry ready to return to work during alert level 4, we can certainly meet the criteria.’
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