Fully vaccinated rugby fans to return to club and professional matches
SA Rugby has told member unions to allow fully vaccinated supporters at club and professional rugby matches in line with the amended regulation 69 of the Disaster Management Act, which allows 2,000 fans at sporting venues.
On Monday, co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma amended regulation 69 of the Disaster Management Act to allow supporters to return for the first time in more than a year since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, Bafana Bafana beat Ethiopia 1-0 in their 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup qualifier in front of about 2,000 excited fans at FNB Stadium in what marked the first time fans returned to a sports venue in SA.
SA Rugby said a maximum of 2,000 spectators will be permitted entry to rugby venues, but this move does not extend to school matches which fall under the auspices of the department of basic education.
SA Rugby will provide guidelines to assist with the management and implementation of the entry protocols to ensure the safe return of fans, as SA Rugby pledged itself to support the government’s vaccination drive.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said the governing body was in full support of government’s drive to accelerate mass vaccinations and allow society to return to normality, while ensuring that rugby was not the cause of the further spreading of the virus.
“This is very welcome news and the first step to returning to having the freedom to sell out venues on special occasions once again,” said Roux.
“It is 19 months since a fan was last allowed in a rugby stadium and this is the light at the end of the tunnel that our sport has desperately needed.
“We trust that this initial allowance will increase speedily as the impact of the vaccination programme and the experience in other territories points to a further relaxation of restrictions.”
SA Rugby said provincial unions would be responsible for ensuring that the union, clubs and their affiliated bodies adhered strictly to the directions stipulated in the government gazette.
The first senior professional rugby event to receive crowds in SA since the lockdown began in March 2020 is likely to be the Carling Champion Match against Kenya on November 6 at Loftus Versfeld.