South Africa suspends football and cricket

Football and cricket activities in South Africa are being suspended as the country seeks to minimise the impact of coronavirus.

On Sunday, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa declared coronavirus a national disaster, and the South Africa Football Association (Safa) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) have responded by suspending their sports in the country.

Any gatherings for football of 100 people or more are now banned, while all forms of cricket have now been terminated for a 60-day period.

“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,” said Safa’s acting CEO Thamsanqa Gay Mokoena.

“Some of the football authorities elsewhere in the world have taken measures such as playing matches in “empty” stadiums without spectators. This response has not proven to be effective in minimizing the spread of the virus.

“In Europe, some players who were participating in matches “behind closed doors” have recently been found to be positive. Therefore, we do not believe that the practice of playing behind closed doors is effective.”

Dr Jacques Faul, Acting Chief Executive for the CSA, echoed the comments, saying “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.

“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”.

South Africa is the latest African country to announce that it was suspending sport owing to coronavirus, following similar actions by Morocco and Ghana.