PSL confirms supporters returning to stadiums

15:19 SAST 2022/03/29
Ben Motshwari Orlando Pirates Bernard Parker Kaizer Chiefs March 2022
PSL games were being played behind closed doors, while very limited numbers were allowed for Bafana Bafana and Cup games

The Premier Soccer League has opened stadiums for fans to start attending football games in South Africa, two years after match venues were restricted due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

A capacity of 50 percent supporters will be allowed inside stadiums after football authorities followed up on the government's recent decision to allow sporting venues to open at half capacity.

Fully-vaccinated fans as well as those presenting Covid-19 tests not older than 72 hours qualify to be let inside venues.

Each spectator is required to produce a vaccination certificate together with their identity document.

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza says football supporters will start attending games during the Nedbank Cup that will be played on the weekend of April 8 and 10.

“The PSL executive committee formulated guidelines settings out the steps to be taken and stressing the importance of the return of football matches in a responsible and most importantly safe environment, “ Khoza told the media.

“The league has earmarked the Nedbank quarter-finals matches as the first matches to be open to spectators. It will be difficult for us to start this weekend. As I have indicated, most of those matches are already categorised and approved.”

Unvaccinated kids accompanied by adults will be exempted from the requirements needed to allow entry into stadiums.

South African football fans have not been able to attend PSL games since the first lockdown was imposed on the country in March 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But with the country slowly relaxing lockdown measures, 2000 supporters were allowed to watch recent Bafana Bafana matches.

That same number was also permitted to attend the MTN8 final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City at Moses Mabhida Stadium in October 2021.

Earlier this month, Sundowns had a small number of spectators cheering them on at FNB Stadium when they beat Al Ahly 1-0 in a Caf Champions League group game.

Khoza acknowledged shutting fans out of stadiums had a financial impact on PSL clubs and threatened their survival.

“That's why I don't understand how club owners are surviving up to now,” he said.

With spectators in some parts of the world having been allowed to attend games for the past year, pressure was mounting on South African football authorities to relax match venue regulations.