By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN domestic football is set to make a return after a seven-month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic after the Sports and Recreation Commission Friday gave the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, the Women’s topflight league and national teams to resume activities albeit under strict guidelines.
In a letter addressed to Zimbabwe Football Association general secretary Joseph Mamutse on Friday, SRC director general Prince Mupazviriho said Premier Soccer League clubs, Women’s Soccer League teams and the national teams have been cleared to train and take part in competitions with effect from October 16.
“The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) hereby gives you notice, following your application, that the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and recreation approved the gradual and phased resumption of football activities effective the 16th of October 2020 in line with the provisions of Statutory Instrument 2020.
“Please note that the approval at this stage is for the following: Premier league Teams, Women Soccer league Teams and National Soccer Teams,” Mupazviriho said.
Football was regarded a high risk sport under the country’s coronavirus lockdown measures and has been banned for the past seven months.
Mupazviriho also explained in his correspondence to ZIFA that one of the conditions for approval was that the game should be played in bio-bubble concept.
This means supporters will not be allowed into the stadium and the authorities will continually assess the health risks.
“The resumption of football activities shall take the format of the mini league using a bubble concept adopted by yourselves.
“The football activities shall, in addition to the requirements specified by the World Health Organisation (WHO), for safe resumption of sport, Statutory Instrument 200 of 2020, your submitted protocols, other legislation and policy directives relating to the prevention and containment of Covid-19,’’ he continued.
He added: “We reiterate that this is a phased approach to resumption of football activities in the country. Assessments will be done during the initial stage on whether or not all provisions are in place and adherence to set protocols in order to inform the complete resumption of all football activities.
“Please note that all the protocols for the prevention and containment of Covid-19 must be observed at all times and SRC expect strict and full compliance by all your members.”
The government approval is expected to finally pave way for the start of the 2020 season which was initially scheduled to begin in March before being indefinitely postponed due to the pandemic.