Sports

State rules out football behind closed door

By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
GOVERNMENT has objected to the idea of playing football games behind closed doors as it still puts the players and staff at risk of coronavirus.
Sports Minister Emmanuel Mulenga at a briefing yesterday said football was a contact sport and an easy medium to spread the disease.
“The President was very categorical when in his statement that only sporting activities which doesn’t involve contact between players can resume. Football behind closed door means no fans are allowed to watch but there is contact among players.
“They are going to be fighting for one ball, which simply means among the players, there will be contact.
“Going by that, we will not allow them to go ahead with that. If there are any such thoughts, they will need certification from the ministry of Health,” Mulenga said.
He emphasised that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) may face suspension in line with the Sports Act as that would be abrogating the Statutory Instrument 21 and 22 which facilitates the management and control of Covid-19.
“Any person who abrogates the Presidential directive will be sanctioned and within the Sports Council Act we have the powers to suspend someone from office for six years,” he said.
In a circular to clubs, FAZ mentioned the possibility of finishing the season behind closed doors.
However, President Lungu in his national address on Friday only allowed non-contact sport such as golf and tennis to resume activities.
And Zambia Tennis Association president Wane Msiska warned that the association will not shield any of its member clubs who will abrogate the health guidelines.
Msiska said only social tennis will resume while professional play remain suspended until further guidance.

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