The DA has described the announcement of regulations for professional athletes at level 3 of the seclusion regulations as saying it is riddled with contradictions and irrational exclusions.
Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced the regulations to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in the Gazette on Thursday.
“Exercise and non-contact sporting events for professional athletes may be resumed in accordance with health protocols and without any spectators,” Mthethwa’s announcement read.
The minister has provided a list of 25 non-contact sports which may now be offered again at match level. This includes sports such as golf, cycling, squash, rowing, tennis and cricket.
However, the DA says a sport such as weightlifting is not allowed in terms of the regulations. Chess is included in the list, but pot game and snooker are not. Swimming is not included in the list, but the triathlon, of which swimming is one of the sections, is allowed in terms of the regulations.
Sports codes that athletes are allowed to practice only are basketball, screen, soccer, hockey, rugby, figure skating, athletics, ice hockey, netball and motor sports.
The DA says powerboat sports are also completely excluded and athletes are not even allowed to practice.
“The regulations leave sportsmen with more questions than answers. It also exacerbates the pain and suffering caused by the pandemic for South African sport, ”said Tshepo Mhlongo, the DA’s spokesperson on sport.
The DA says Mthethwa should provide clarity on the contradictions in the regulations.
“We are now getting tired of the government’s arbitrary regulations that have no basis in research, which contain a lot of contradictions and which are a source of frustration for the sports industry.
“Most athletes were unable to earn a steady income during the isolation period and the resumption of non-contact sports will provide relief,” Mhlongo said.
According to him, since the start of the seclusion period, athletes have suffered from a lack of support from the department to put in place relief measures for sportsmen and that athletes were in the dark in terms of information and assistance.
According to the regulations, practice and matches are still prohibited in so-called focal areas. Organizations must also present a Covid-19 plan for athletes and sporting events and must indicate how exercise will take place in terms of health protocols.
The regulations apply only to professional athletes, who are defined as an athlete who earns income by participating in sports, or includes payment for a performance at an international championship or related event. This also includes preparation for the Olympics and members of an exercise group for a particular sports body.
It therefore excludes amateur athletes and those who practice the sport as a hobby.