Amateur Football Returns “As Benefits Outweigh the Risks”
Staff Writer, 20 July 2021
Amateur football activities are set to resume in Cape Town under strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols after Safa Cape Town’s Regional Executive Committee (REC) resolved it was less risky to do so.
Last night (19 July 2021) regional medical and competitions committee members met virtually with the COVID-19 compliance officers from local football associations (LFAs) and local clubs to discuss the Regional COVID-19 Operational Plan for the return to play.
At the meeting, the regional leadership stated that they could not force anyone to return to action, but were guided by science to believe that the benefits of recommencing activities outweighs the risks of transmitting coronavirus.
The medical committee presented a paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine late last year, SARS-CoV-2 Transmission during Rugby League Matches: Do players become infected after participating with SARS-CoV-2 positive players?
The study found that there is “very low transmission of Covid-19 during rugby matches, likely due to good outdoor ventilation and minimal prolonged (less than three seconds) interactions during the matches”.
In addition, the region has designed a template to help clubs and LFAs prepare their operational plans as to how they would ensure the safe return to play and training for their members, in line with provisions under the Disaster Management Act.
“Only if the conditions are met and we observe the rules and regulations, only then can we return to play,” one presenter stated.
This followed the REC’s resolution on Friday that non-professional football for men and women should recommence. Accordingly, the competitions below will resume as follows:
- Regional Third Division – 31 July 2021
- Regional Women’s League – 7 August 2021
- Local Football Association Leagues – 7 August 2021
- Coca-Cola Amateur Cup – 8 August 2021
- Denis Goldberg Youth Cup – 15 August 2021
According to a circular sent out to clubs, this will be subject to the full COVID-19 protocols being in place as per the National & Regional COVID-19 Strategy on the Resumption of Football (version 6), the submission of the COVID-19 Operational Plan to be released by the Regional Medical and Sports Committee, which must be completed and be approved by the Region, as well as the submission of the COVID-19 Venue Clearance Certificates with these operational plans.
The Region, according to the circular, also acknowledged that since the suspension of football, players, match officials, etc have been inactive, and that they need to be match ready. “We will also be applying to the National Office for permission for members to commence training before the recommencement of the various leagues,” the circular read, adding that “we will also inform the City of Cape Town of this as they will need to prepare and open their facilities to allow the training sessions and matches to take place.”
Under the current Level 4 conditions and Disaster Management Act Regulations no spectators are allowed, and Safa Cape Town said the resumption of play is by no means disregarding the seriousness of the coronavirus.
“We will, however, stress that we are taking this pandemic very seriously and that we want to minimise the risk of exposure. But we are guided by the “science” available and hence we urge members to follow the COVID-19 protocols.”
Meanwhile the deadline for transfers of amateur players has been extended from 31 July to 31 August due to the suspension of matches this month.