Professional sport at level 3: What codes need to do to resume matches

The Minister of Sports, Art and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa has addressed the resumption of professional sport under level 3 of the lockdown.

Mthethwa briefed the media on Saturday 30 May, clarifying what needs to be done in order for a professional sport to resume under the terms of level 3.

The minister also outlined what contact sports will need to do in order to be cleared to return to action, but it appears that they may only be allowed to return at level 1.

Non-contact matches resume, contact sports can train

From 1 June, non-contact sports can hold professional matches without spectators and contact sports are permitted to resume training.

Mthethwa made it clear that only professional sports will be allowed to resume, as they can be adequately monitored for compliance. 

"The process of training for contact and non-contact Sport will resume under level 3," Mthethwa said. 
"All sporting arts, culture or religious events are prohibited except religious gatherings and professional non-contact sporting events for the purpose of preparation of major sporting events.
"On the resumption of non-contact sports training. 
"Sports grounds, fields and swimming pools for non-contact sport and training for professional athletes may resume in compliance with the health protocol without any spectators."

Mthethwa said that sporting bodies and organisations would need to maintain strict standards of hygiene and perform extensive sterilisation of facilities and equipment.

The department have considered submissions from all sporting codes and confederations. 

Read: Premier League restart set for 17 June double-header

Codes must notify the department before restarting

All sports that wish to resume action from 1 June will be required to notify the department in writing in advance of the event.

Sports must also submit protocols and guidelines specific to their code to the department.

"All sport bodies must within 14 days after the publication of these directions, inform the Minister in writing as to the date of resumption and further provide an operational guideline including a guarantee in the form of affidavits related to the testing of all officials."

The shift to a hotspot focused approach to dealing with the pandemic also means that sports events cannot be held in areas where there are spikes in infections.

The ministry are set to outline exactly how some sports will function and said they would provide more detail in time over how a code like golf will operate considering the logistical challenges of opening courses for small numbers of people for training.

The department have also provided definitions of what constitutes non-contact sport and also what amounts to elite and professional sport.

Mthethwa says that the new regulations do not allow ordinary citizens to use sporting facilities and all sports people must seek permission to train and compete.