FILE - SA Rugby president Mark Alexander. Photo: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix
FILE - SA Rugby president Mark Alexander. Photo: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

Rugby stadiums in SA to allow only vaccinated fans initially?

By Morgan Bolton Time of article published Aug 25, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG – There is the slightest of possibilities that when fans finally return to the country’s rugby stadiums, and by extension to the stadiums of other sporting codes, it might only be the vaccinated that are allowed to enter initially.

Mark Alexander, the president of Saru, revealed that such a protocol was recently tabled before the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) and various stakeholders in an effort to get supporters back into the country’s stadiums.

Who forwarded the proposal was not revealed, nor was Alexander willing to decree that it would be the approach going forward, or that it was taken into serious consideration, or that it had been endorsed by Saru.

Speaking at the official announcement of the Carling Black Label Championship Match in Houghton on Wednesday, Alexander was at pains to explain that Saru, and various other collaborators, were in negotiations to see the return of fans but that it would be done within the ambit of responsibility and accountability.

“We’ve been lobbying for months now,” said Alexander, regarding the return of supporters to the tiers of our most vaunted stadiums. “We were at a point before the British and Irish Lions tour where we lobbied Nedlac and Cosatu and then unfortunately the third wave came.

“There is a big drive now,” he continued. “(Tuesday) we were on a call with the Nedlac working group and a whole lot of stakeholders there, talking about getting fans back but it is a process.

“It is not going to happen overnight. We’ve had to learn how to live with a new normal now and playing without fans but we would love to have our fans back. Fans are so important to all the things we do … Government has started the process.

“People say look at what is happening in Europe but they have herd immunity. We are very far from herd immunity and we have to act responsibly. The last thing we want as Saru is for people to attend a rugby game and then we have a major spreader. We don’t want that to happen. We are trying to make sure that all the controls are in place when we do let the fans back into the stadiums.

“There was talk (Tuesday) on the group we were on – it is a big lobby group and I don’t want to talk outside of that group because that is that group’s right to talk – there is a drive around that (allowing the vaccinated polation to returns to the stadiums) but let’s wait for that to be announced by Government and the authorities that are dealing with that.

“But there is a group that is looking at getting people that are vaccinated back into the stadium. It is still early days, so we have to wait for that to happen.”


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