South African Football Association (SAFA) has issued a statement advising all its members to suspend and/or postpone all football matches and football events that are attended by more 100 people in the country until further notice.
"SAFA said they will be in contact with the Health Authorities and will be reviewing the situation on an on-going basis. Members will be advised on a continuous basis accordingly."
"This is the effort to promote the health and safety of all its members including players, officials, sponsors and staff."
The State President, the Hon Cyril Ramaphosa, has declared the coronavirus disease a national disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act. In his announcement, he outlined measures that will be taken to minimize the risk of spreading the virus by limiting contact amongst groups of people. As a result, gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited.
This measure has a direct impact on all our football activities, particularly matches as most if not allmatches are attended by more than 100 people. Some of the football authorities elsewhere in the world have taken measures such as playing matches in “empty” stadiums without spectators. This response has not proven to be effective in minimizing the spread of the virus. In Europe, some players who were participating in matches “behind closed doors” have recently been found to be positive. Therefore, we do not believe that the practice of playing behind closed doors is effective.
Last week the football association had indicated that it was not necessary to postpone or suspend the domestic football program at that stage,however circumstances have changed drastically for the worse and government has since called on all stakeholders to take all necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus.