Rugby Bulls URC

Rugby fans. Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images

Bulls lead plea for fans to be allowed back: ‘Please open up our stadiums!’

The Bulls have joined the chorus of calls for more spectators to be allowed back into sports stadiums as soon as possible.

Rugby Bulls URC

Rugby fans. Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images

Frustrated local fans have been largely prohibited from attending live matches at stadiums around Mzansi for nearly two years due to Covid-19 safety measures, while rugby venues have been limited to 2,000 supporters.

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This past week, Blue Bulls coach Gert Smal called for the return of crowds to give the provinces the income to retain key players.

“In South Africa, we lose a lot of senior players, and we lose their experience and leadership. It’s nice to have the older guys coming back and sharing that with the youngsters. Hopefully, we will see that a little bit more in the future, that mix of experience and youth. It’s quite nice.

“I think before they came back, it was really difficult with young teams all the time.I hope we can get the crowds back as well at the same time, get a bit more income and so on, so that we can start building the provinces. That’s what’s happening in the URC in other countries. We need the money to keep our top players here, or bring them back.”

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Blue Bulls president Willem Strauss has also made an impassioned plea for stadiums to be opened up

PLEASE OPEN UP OUR STADIUMS!🙏
The Fourth wave is over, lower numbers of hospitalisation and death.

We are returning to the “old normal” as can be seen over the festive season.

Almost 30m South Africans have been vaccinated, number is increasing daily.

Worldwide countries with more daily COVID cases are allowing spectators to attend sporting events, AFCON 2022 in Cameroon with fans in stadiums. UK stadiums (Rugby and football). America (NFL) etc.

Rugby have been pro-active in dealing with the pandemic and the various waves, often implementing even stricter measures than suggested in the Government Gazette.

Our vaccination policy for crowds was approved, communicated and implemented in 2021 already, and all our member unions have a vaccination policy in place – only vaccinated and mask-wearing fans allowed, social distancing adhered to, sanitation stations all over stadiums. The size of our stadiums allow for easy social distancing.

All our provincial unions have successfully delivered rugby events during the current pandemic and we believe they are geared to deliver safe events under our protocols which is aligned with government.

The pandemic has crippled our provincial rugby unions – the lifeblood of the game and the conveyor belt of talent to feed the Springboks and our other national teams. Paying spectators and corporates provide a big financial boost to provinces and clubs.Our development programs and grassroots rugby is suffering!

Our sport is, by definition, a “spectator sport”. Without spectators we are a pale imitation of what we should be.

As South Africans, we know we are stronger together and the way in which our country has “out-performed” many other nations in its response to the pandemic, is a feather in the cap for Government

Opening Stadiums will promote social cohesion, improve our peoples mood, motivate our athletes, create a lifeline for our stadium and service providers and a return on investment for our sponsors and stakeholders.