HomeResourcesGeneral resourcesHow to play professional sports during #COVID-19

How to play professional sports during #COVID-19

South Africa’s sportsmen and women return to the field, but spectators still cheer from home. And, the latest to-do list for sports bodies.

Resource details:

Publication title: Directions: measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 in the sports, arts and culture: amendment

Author(s): The department of sports, arts and culture

Publication date: 6 August 2020

What the directives are about:

Professional contact sports are allowed to continue locally, and cultural venues such as libraries, cinemas and theatres can open too. These regulations explain which additional precautions must be in place to keep people safe from infection by the new coronavirus when they are participating in these events or attending them. Sports, cultural activities and religious gatherings were suspended in April. Professional non-contact sports such as tennis were allowed in June followed by contact sports, cinemas and libraries in July.  

Key take-aways from the directives:

Sporting activities:

  • Both contact and non-contact sports can continue training and matches, but only for  domestic events
  • International matches remain suspended.  
  • Professional bodies for contact sports such as rugby must let the department of sports, arts and culture know — in writing — that they intend to return to training and matches before 20 August 2020.
  • What should be in the letter to the department? It must include the names of the venues to be used, and when they plan to resume training and matches. The message must also include a tally of the players and officials that will be present, and a list of people who have tested positive for the COVID-19.
  • Athletes, trainers and support staff should be tested for COVID-19 two days before training and games resume.
  • Only essential players and staff should attend games. Substitute players and support personnel, such as medics, should wear face masks and social distance during matches.
  • Only five professional athletes are allowed to train together at a time.
  • Only one journalist from each media house will be allowed to cover matches. Radio stations may only send one commentator to cover a match. 
  • Television crews must be kept small. 
  • Players are required to wear masks at all times except when training and playing tournaments.
  • Spitting, tackling and close contact training are discouraged.
  • Sport massages are prohibited unless approved by a doctor.
  • Sports bodies must document the full names and contact details of players, officials and support staff taking part in training and matches for at least six months. A roster of the people they live with is also required.
  • Spectators are still not allowed to attend sporting events. It’s up to sporting bodies to enforce this rule. 

Arts and cultural activities:

You can find and download the directives here.

[Please note: Information on the new coronavirus is rapidly changing. Please refer to the department of sports, arts and culture website for the latest information. Visit www.sacoronavirus.co.za for updates on South Africa’s coronavirus response.]

Gopolang Makou was the impact and engagement officer at Bhekisisa.