The Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla has welcomed SAFA’s recommendation for the return of spectators to the stadiums and has asked the two parties to urgently work together to finalise the logistics.
Further details will be announced at a joint Press Conference between the Ministry of Health and SAFA on Friday, 8 October 2021 in Pretoria.
In a meeting at SAFA House on Monday, 4 October 2021 attended by a delegation from the Ministry of Health, headed by Dr Phaahla and from the South African Football Association (SAFA) headed by President Dr Danny Jordaan, the Minister of Health said the return of fans to the stadium was a win win situation in the bigger scheme of things.
The return of fans to the stadiums will expedite the vaccination drive and in the same breath stimulate the informal economic sector of taxis who drive spectators to the stadiums and those who sell their commodities to the fans.
The Health Minister said he was appreciative of football’s support to drive for mass vaccinations and at the same time help the informal sectors earn a living by fans returning to the stadium.
‘’This is music in my ears. It is a win win situation, it will spur all and sundry, the clubs, players and the football business.
‘’We also want other sectors of the economy to return to normalcy if the majority of the population is vaccinated – sectors such as tourism, restaurants etc. So I am here to embrace and fully support SAFA’s initiative,’’ he said.
By getting vaccinated, life can return to what it used to be and the society can get along with their normal daily lives, he said.
SAFA President said the Association was committed to see South Africans getting vaccinated and fully support the initiative and will use football to accelerate the process.
He said the pilot project of fans returning to the stadium on 12 October during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Ethiopia should herald the beginning of spectators fully returning to the stadiums.He also reiterated the No vaccination, No entry to the stadium call saying all SAFA stakeholders needed to be vaccinated by 30 October 2021 in order to participate in football matters.
South Africa currently lead the group that includes Ghana, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.