South African sport KOed by coronavirus

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza addresses the media in Johannesburg on March 16 2020.
PSL chairman Irvin Khoza addresses the media in Johannesburg on March 16 2020.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The SA Football Association (Safa)‚ Cricket South Africa (CSA)‚ Athletics South Africa (ASA)‚ Tennis South Africa (TSA)‚ Boxing South Africa (BSA)‚ Netball South Africa (NSA) and the Sunshine Tour have suspended activities regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday night‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national emergency during an address to the nation in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus that has already killed 6‚500 globally.

Safa‚ CSA‚ ASA‚ TSA‚ BSA and golf’s Sunshine Tour on Monday suspended their activities with immediate effect to bring sports in the country to a grinding halt.

Safa acting CEO Gay Mokoena said the association have advised the Premier Soccer League (PSL)‚ their professional wing‚ to suspend the Absa Premiership and first division GladAfrica Championship.

But‚ he said‚ Safa will respect the PSL’s decision to suspend their matches for only for the coming week pending a league Board of Governors meeting on Thursday.

The league are seeking clarification from the government on Ramaphosa’s prohibition of gatherings of more than 100 people‚ regarding closed doors matches.

In a statement‚ Mokoena said: “This measure has a direct impact on all our football activities‚ particularly matches as most if not all our matches are attended by more than 100 people.

“Some of the football authorities elsewhere in the world have taken measures such as playing matches in “empty” stadiums. This response has not proven to be effective in minimising the spread of the virus.”

Tennis SA said they have suspended their events at all levels and will work closely with partners to determine suitable dates of resumption.

“We will work closely with our partners and all stakeholders‚ regional and provincial associations‚ to determine suitable alternative dates‚ with the goal of enabling the resumption of playing opportunities across each category as soon as the situation allows‚” said TSA chief executive Richard Glover.

In their statement‚ CSA said their activities at first-class‚ List A‚ semi-professional‚ provincial and junior and amateur cricket have been suspended for the next 60 days.

“We at CSA take this pronouncement by the President and the cabinet very seriously and we will most certainly use our leverage to ensure that we minimise the impact of the virus in our spaces‚” said acting CEO Dr Jacques Faul.

“Consequently and during this time of absolute caution and surveillance‚ we would like to call upon all our members and affiliates to desist from taking part in any cricket-related gatherings and other transversal events that will include the congregation of large numbers of people and/or up to 100 people.”

This means that the Momentum One Day Cup‚ semifinals between the Dolphins and the Knights on Tuesday night and the Lions and Warriors on Wednesday have been suspended.

Netball SA president Cecilia Molokwane and her executive members took a unanimous decision to suspend planned activities scheduled for March and April with immediate effect.

“The team will reconvene again in 30 days to assess the situation and inform members of the media and the public on next steps‚” Molokwane said.

“Some of our national team players who are currently playing in Australia and England are in self-isolation following their respective leagues being suspended. Further announcements regarding this will be made by the 17th of April 2020.”

Boxing SA also followed suit by cancelling all the events that were sanctioned for March and April with immediate effect.

“The tournaments‚ that were already sanctioned‚ will no longer be taking place and no application for new tournaments will be accepted until further clarity is received from the National Command Council in terms of how long is the national state of disaster likely to last‚” a BSA statement read.