The South African Football Players Union (SAFPU) have announced they will picket alongside the EFF on Thursday, as they call for stadiums to be opened for domestic football fans.
The EFF have organised the picket as South African football fans remain unable to attend DStv Premiership games.
“The time is now! Welcome back the fans to the stands and regenerate livelihoods in the name of football,” the statement read.
“It is without predijuice that the South African Football Players Union (SAFPU) joins the chorus of many people and parties who are calling to have the gates fully opened at stadia across the country.
“The status of locked doors and keeping fans at bay needs to be done away with. It is time to allow the fans back and with that the regeneration of small informal businesses that have lost valuable income during the dark months of lockdown. These very businesses kept their families afloat and benefitted very little from the resource that there was to apply for redemption.
“In the name of football, let the fans support their teams fully in oudoor stadia that are big enough to social distance and keep safe.
“The FB Stadium is about 90 thousand seater venue. Allow fans back, not to capacity but enough so that the stands are filled in the safest possible number, which exceeds the current privision of 2000 people allowed. Outdoor venues should not pose a problem.”
“Fans are an integral part to every match, and every player feels the same way. Players play better with the 12th man at their side and we saw this during the World Cup Qualifiers last year. It is time and patience is wearing thin,” explained Nhlanhla Shabalala SAFPU Secretary General.
“In solidarity of the cause and commonality as well as the voice we need to lift together,” the statement continued.
“SAFPU will unite in the picket hosted by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and pledge our support in getting the gates of stadia across the country open, pleading for the support the players need and making a way for fans to enjoy the game they love, not off a screen but in person.”
“We believe that South Africans are responsible, have proven to be able to adhere to restrictions and Covid-19 protocols and we believe that it is time we are all entrusted back into the sports arena, like the rest of the world!
“We will convene at Sechaba House, 202 Madiba Street, Pretoria Central at 11h00 on the 20th January 2022 and urge every sports loving person to assist in getting this cry heard to the office which governs sport in the land.”