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Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa: Reopening of stadiums 'very complicated'

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Nathi Mthethwa (Gallo Images)
Nathi Mthethwa (Gallo Images)

Minister of Sports, Art, and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, says allowing fans to return to sports events is a complicated issue that needs a "proper analysis".

The domestic soccer, rugby and cricket season has carried on without fans in the stadiums due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, hundreds of local athletes are currently competing against each other in track and field events to prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

But with the infection rates slowing and vaccinations gaining speed, sport-loving supporters are hopeful they will be allowed to watch their teams in person sooner rather than later.

However, Mthethwa has now explained that there are many factors to consider when reopening stadiums and that plans are not yet in place.

"I know churches and other places are open, but we have not had a situation where we allow thousands of people," Mthethwa told SAFM.

"It is still limited at the moment. The events and stadiums issue is very complicated, so we need to be very careful with that one.

"The PSL is welcome to present its case through the mother body Safa. But it's always better if the proposals come from Sascoc for all the federations. Rugby has applied and has a good plan for the Lions tour. But we must always remember to put livelihoods first.

"If you look at the sporting situation, you must also ask what do you do in a stadium of 60 000 capacity.

"For sports and events, it becomes superficial. It will need a proper analysis from different sectors. It's not an easy situation as it seems, both for sport and events.

"It was also up to the federations to come and present their case and give us proposals about the return of fans to stadiums. It's only recently that we have received a proposal. I think the sporting world has also been cautious considering the proposed third wave."

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