South Africa granted provisional green light to resume sports

AFP
The South African Premiership was suspended in March. Photo: AFP

Professional sport in South Africa was on Saturday given a provisional green light to resume training.

Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa said non-contact professional sport will be allowed under strict conditions, which include playing without spectators, while contact sports such as football and rugby will be able to resume training.

Mthethwa was speaking at a briefing to outline how sport would be affected by an easing of South Africa´s coronavirus lockdown which will come into effect on Monday.

Contact sports will have to provide detailed plans and get approval from the government to ensure the safety of players and officials before they can resume training, said Mthethwa.

Cricket South Africa welcomed what acting chief executive Jacques Faul described as "a big boost for the operational side of our cricket".

Although a tour of Sri Lanka, scheduled for June, has been postponed, the South African men´s team hope to be able to play the West Indies in July or August, possibly at neutral venues in England rather than in the Caribbean, while a home Twenty20 series against India could take place in August behind closed doors.

Vusumusi Mkhize, director-general of the government´s department of sport, said at the briefing that level one of the lockdown was a realistic prediction for when contact sports will return to play.

The lockdown started at level five but will be eased to level three on Monday, allowing most businesses to return to work.

"We have a very good relationship with the sports bodies," said Mkhize, discussing a meeting with football officials that had taken place on Friday. He also said there had been detailed discussions with other sports, including rugby, cricket, tennis and golf.

South Africa granted provisional green light to resume sports