Return for sports? SA government asked to let athletes compete again
A campaign to bring back sports has taken its first step forward on Tuesday, and the government has been asked to consider a number of proposals.
There may be some good news on the horizon for sports fans, if the government heed calls made by the opposition on Tuesday. The shadow sports and culture minister has officially launched a campaign to allow non-contact competitive fields the right to operate once more during lockdown.
Lockdown latest – what sports could return first?
Sport has been something of a graveyard since the global health crisis became an issue in South Africa. All major leagues and tournaments have were shut down in March. However, Tsepo Mhlongo believes that at least four major sporting codes should be brought back behind closed doors, including:
- Any other sport that can be played without contact, spectators or breaking social distancing laws
Why are the DA keen to bring back non-contact sports?
The DA representative has a stack of arguments in his locker, too. Mhlongo isn’t best pleased with the fact that very little financial support is available to many athletes in the country. He also states that bringing these sports back – with the potential to televise them – would bring a “boost to the nation”:
“Many athletes are currently experiencing a challenging financial period as sports events across the globe have been cancelled and they currently have no source of income. Athletes are understandably anxious to return to the competitive arena, but they have very limited options to sustain themselves and their families.”
“Sportsmen and women were prevented from applying for relief assistance due to the department’s inefficiencies and have lost their last opportunity to access some sort of a lifeline. Since the Department is refusing to give them financial assistance, the right thing to do is to reopen some non-contact sports codes.”Tsepo Mhlongo
“Moving forward” with lockdown
The tide could be turning in the politician’s favour: As revealed on Monday, the government are discussing a potential date to move forward into Level 3 of lockdown – a decision which would truly loosen the economic and social shackles, while enforcing the rules of social distancing.
There is an appetite in the upper echelons of government to take a step forward, and to do it ‘sooner rather than later’. This won’t open the floodgates for the return of sports like soccer, rugby or other team games – but getting some of our high-performance athletes back onto the biggest stages could restore a crumb of normality to our disrupted lives.