The South African sporting fraternity is waiting with bated breath for the easing of the lockdown COVID-19 restrictions affecting sport, and mainly football, after president Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday that the country would maybe be ready to enter level three of the national lockdown at the end of May.
All sporting activities, including club football has been suspended by the SA Football Association (Safa) since mid-March, meaning that all leagues, cups and amateur football have been suspended until the government declares it is safe to take to the fields of play again.
“We will immediately begin a process of consultation with relevant stakeholders on a proposal that by the end of May, most of the country be placed on alert level 3,” said Ramaphosa.
“Now, two months after we declared a national state of disaster, we are ready to shift to a new phase in our response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
It is hoped and anticipated by the sporting community that when the ministers address the nation to provide details and clarity on which social activity restrictions would be lifted, sport and football would be included to resume action after the new measures have been put in place.
“We are now preparing for a further easing of the lockdown and a gradual opening of the economy,” said the president.
“Alert levels 3 to 1 allow a progressively greater relaxation of restrictions. In the coming days, we will also be announcing certain changes to level 4 regulations to expand permitted business activities in the retail space and e-commerce and reduce restrictions on exercise.”
Many were, however, left wondering what the president meant by “reduce restrictions on exercise”. Was he referring to the opening of more sporting activities, such as matches on open field of play, running, walking and jogging or taking to the gyms?