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R150m relief fund for SA athletes

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Dept bids to soften the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

SOUTH Africa’s Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has announced a R150 million relief fund for athletes to help soften the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There has been a massive economic fallout caused by the cancellation of many international events as countries combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Prize money and appearances fees are in many cases the sole source of income for athletes and support staff like coaches, physios and trainers. Some support staff are funded by the national federation while others earn a commission on athletes’ earnings.

In a statement yesterday, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture said:  “Our country is dealing with a national emergency, as all efforts of the government, private sector and civil society combine to fight the health disaster that threatens to ensue with the rapid spread of Covid-19 across our provinces.

“It is with this massive challenge in mind that Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, announces a relief fund of R150 million towards assisting artists, athletes, technical personnel and the core ecosystem that supports them, to soften the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their livelihood.”

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) will inform the athletics fraternity about the relief fund and the criteria required to apply for compensation.

Athletes and support staff will be required to provide proof that the events they have entered have been shelved due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Anybody in bad standing with the Receiver of Revenue because of unpaid taxes will not be able to apply for financial compensation.

All the athletes who are in preparation squads for the World Championships, Olympics, Paralympics and African Games will also be eligible to apply.