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Sports bodies decry spectators’ barring

Business

Chris Theko

The Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) together with the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) in a mission that is led by the Sports Task Force have expressed their dissatisfaction in the manner in which the return of contact sports was announced by the Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro.

Last week Friday the prime minister announced that the country will continue to be on alert level purple with a number of restrictions amended.

Amongst some of the lifted restrictions, contact sporting was resumed albeit without spectators a move that was ill-welcome by the sporting industry particularly the football fraternity. 

In an exclusive interview with Newsday Sport, Moipone Mashale, the chairperson of the sports task force in charge of engaging with the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) said they are in the process of negotiating for spectators to be allowed back to the stadia. 

“We welcome the opening of contact sports because nothing was happening and it was beginning to get worrisome for different sports, but we are not happy with the stipulation that spectators not be allowed so we are currently negotiating with the authorities,” Mashale said. 

She said that it was a bit of a shock that the other sectors of the society and economy are allowed to operate under the new normal yet there are still restrictions to the sports fraternity. 

“Political rallies have been allowed with a limited number of people but sports which contributes to the economy and uplifts a lot of people’s lives has such restrictions.

“Football on its own is a sport that attracts a lot of sponsors and right now the Premier league’s main sponsor (Vodacom) is not happy that they are not getting their money’s worth,” she said

Meanwhile, the LeFA Secretary-General Mokhosi Mohapi echoed similar sentiments indicating that they were deeply disappointed by the government’s decision to not allow spectators in the grounds.   

“The government has made a wrong decision to open alcohol places and deny spectators attendance at sporting events which normally last for lesser time.

“We are strongly appealing with the authorities to look at the issue in a positive manner. This has the potential to kill the already established partnerships with sponsors, so we are working hand-in-hand with the LSRC to on this matter,” Mohapi said.

In his media briefing on Tuesday LeFA President said they fully supported the usage of Covid-19 passports at sporting events as a means to encourage people to vaccinate. 

“We have the capacity and the manual to manage Covid-19 which was approved by the NACOSEC and the parliament, we can use that to ensure safety of livelihoods and we fully support the using of Covid-19 Vaccine passport in all our events,” Phafane said. 

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