Health minister Phaahla welcomes Safa's recommendation for return of spectators to stadiums
Health minister Joe Phaahla has welcomed the SA Football Association’s recommendation for the return of spectators to stadiums and has asked the two parties to urgently work together to finalise the logistics.
Further details will be announced at a joint press conference between the health ministry and Safa on Friday October 8 2021 in Pretoria.
In a meeting at Safa House on Monday October 4 attended by a delegation from the ministry, led by Phaahla and Safa president Danny Jordaan, the return of fans was welcomed as a win-win situation in the bigger scheme of things.
The move will expedite the vaccination drive and in the same breath stimulate the informal economic sector of taxis who drive spectators to the stadiums and those who sell their wares to fans.
Phaahla said he was appreciative of football’s support for mass vaccinations while helping people in the informal sector earn a living at venues.
“This is music in my ears. It is a win-win situation, it will spur all and sundry, the clubs, players and the football business. We also want other sectors of the economy to return to normalcy if the majority of the population is vaccinated — sectors such as tourism, restaurants and so on So I am here to embrace and fully support Safa’s initiative,’’ he said. “By getting vaccinated, life can return to what it used to be and people can get along with their normal daily lives, he said.
Jordaan said Safa was committed to see South Africans getting vaccinated and fully support the initiative, and will use football to accelerate the process.
He said the pilot project of fans returning to the stadium on October 12 during the Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Ethiopia should herald the beginning of spectators fully returning to stadiums.
He reiterated the “No vaccination, no entry” stance, saying all Safa stakeholders needed to be vaccinated by October 30 to participate in football matters.