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EFF leader Malema slams PSL’s ‘cowardice’ towards opening of stadiums

14:02 EAT 09/01/2022
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Since March 2020, fans have been restricted from attending games in South Africa due to the coronavirus pandemic

South African opposition politician Julius Malema has questioned the logic behind allowing stadiums to be open for political events while fans remain barred from attending football matches.

When addressing a rally organised by his political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, Malema blasted the hosting of non-football events as “nonsense.”

PSL clubs have been playing behind closed doors since the implementation of lockdown regulations in March 2020 following the Covid-19 outbreak.

But political events have been held inside stadiums and some are usually almost full to capacity especially during rallies in the run-up to local government elections in 2021.

“We call on the leadership of the PSL to stop being scared and cowardice and challenge this government,” Malema told his supporters.

“They must not seek to be liked. It must challenge for the opening of the stadiums. Political parties have been filling Stadiums but stadiums are not open for entertainment.

“Why is the PSL leadership quiet, while the political parties are being in the stadiums, yet soccer clubs are not allowed to be at the stadiums. That is absolute nonsense, they destroy the only bread that the people of South Africa have.

“We want our soccer back, we want our entertainment back, we want our festivals back, we want the economy open for all of us, for the youth of KwaZulu-Natal to get jobs back.”

A very limited number of fans were allowed to watch the MTN8 final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City in October 2021.

FNB Stadium turnstiles were also opened for Bafana Bafana matches last year with only 2000 fully vaccinated supporters allowed to watch inside the stadium.

The fans watched those matches free of charge, with vaccination the only requirement to enter calabash shaped Stadium.

Last week, PSL chairman Irvin Khoza explained why fans are yet to return to stadiums.

“The regulations say we must have 2000 spectators. Unfortunately, we have got constraints as a league,” Khoza told the media.

“We have got responsibilities towards our partners; the sponsors, suppliers and everybody [else]. Amongst them, the tickets which must go to them are plus/minus 2,000 to 3,000 tickets. What remains for the supporters?”

Clubs are also losing out on revenue due to playing matches inside empty stadiums.