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Virus forces sport to a standstill

It’s the worst nightmare of every sports lover – everything has been cancelled for the next few weeks.

This includes the hosting of local soccer games, parkruns, club cricket and all club rugby in the Helderberg region – and on a larger scale, all over the country.

This was confirmed over the past few days following the presidential announcement on Sunday evening (15 March) that all South Africans must practise social distancing and gatherings of 100 people or more are prohibited during this time.

Helderberg Rugby Club confirmed this week that their much anticipated weekend clash and final friendly of the preseason against St George’s Rugby Club, a fixture that usually attracts over 1 000 people, was cancelled.

The Western Province Cricket Association also announced that all last round fixtures across various leagues were cancelled, and a disabled bowls championship planned to be hosted in the Helderberg this week was also called off.

On Tuesday (17 March), WP Rugby announced the halt of all schools’ rugby training and matches until 14 April, including all club and community rugby training and matches, and encouraged all players to train individually.

They also suspended all face-to-face General Council meetings until 14 April, stating all critical General Council meetings might be done by teleconference or other viable tools available.

Western Cape Provincial Sport Federation president JP Naude also released a statement, advising that initial action in response to the Coronavirus was the immediate cancellation or postponement of all sporting events for 14 days, across all divisions – from amateur to professional level, including juniors and seniors. He also advised that the 14-day period could change subject to further developments with regard to the spread of the Coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Cape Town mayor Dan Plato announced the closure of several public facilities, including all swimming pools and sports grounds. “The City realises that, due to the closure of sporting facilities, there will be an impact on community sporting culture and especially on the municipal facility management committees (MFMCs) who work with the City on the management and maintenance of the facilities,” he related.

“We plead for their understanding and request the support of MFMCs to ensure that all non-essential contact is avoided and that social distancing is strictly enforced.

“Please note all public meetings and non-critical meetings, gatherings and site visits will also be postponed indefinitely unless an emergency meeting is called. The situation is being assessed on a daily basis and is subject to frequent and rapid change.”

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