Wayne Jones interviewed by Dylan Bettencourt on 25 May 2021. 

In part three of a three-part series which dives into the preparations of the Local Football Associations (LFA) return to football in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and all the challenges that brings with it.

We spoke to Wayne Jones, the recently elected President of the Cape District LFA (CDLFA). Jones is a member of Ashford Athletic Football Association where he holds the position of President. Jones is also the Chairperson of the Ethics Committee for SAFA Cape Town.

League Preparations

“The preparations for readiness are going as well as it can go. Our clubs have been playing friendly matches for the past six weeks or so, and we have out the required Covid protocols at the venues. The LFA assisted with a starter pack to get them going as well as the LFA EXCO team visiting all venues on a weekly basis to ensure that the protocols are in place and maintained”, says Jones.

“Where weaknesses have been identified, these were made known to the host clubs and it was immediately attended to. Clubs have their qualified Covid Officers in place, and this is a major plus factor in our endeavor to ensure our official start on 5 June 2021.”

Procedures

Jones outlined all the necessary protocols that have been put in place to ensure the venues are safe for everyone involved. These are:

  • All clubs must have registered Covid compliance officers – compulsory for all venues;
  • Screening and recording of information of all players, match officials and EXCO members at all venues;
  • Apart from players participating in matches, everyone is to wear a mask at all times;
  • No spectators will be permitted at any of the venues;Any club breaking protocols will have their home fixtures taken away and played at neutral/away venues.
Wayne Jones

Wayne Jones, President of Cape District Football Association

The Importance of Football Returning

“It is vitally important from a social aspect that the leagues return. However, let me categorically and emphatically say that the return of the leagues can never and should never surpass the importance of keeping our society safe and constantly aware of the impact and devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic,”

“Not having played for over a year has had a huge impact on our clubs and the LFA, but our desire to get back onto the field must be a decision taken with great care, responsibility and awareness.”, Jones added.

Structure and Improvements

Jones said that the association has agreed that every age division will be permitted to return to play, from under 6 age group right up until the senior teams.

In terms of improvements, the Cape District LFA President said: “I would like to believe that there will be a greater sense of self-care and consideration. Many, if not all of us have been impacted either directly or indirectly by the virus with many of us losing loved ones. With that being said, all clubs now have the responsibility of ensuring the safety of their members, opponents and match officials,”

“I am sure that this will inadvertently lead to a greater respect for each other amongst our membership.”

Risk of Stoppage

With the threat of a third wave of Covid-19 infections on the rise in South Africa, Jones said that this does definitely pose as a risk to a further stoppage in football, but he emphasized that the safety of their members and everyone involved in this process is their priority.

The Cape District LFA 2021 season kicks off 12 June 2021.

Executive Committee

President: Wayne Jones (Ashford Athletic AFC)

Senior President: Grant Peters (Wolverhampton AFC)

Vice President (Head of Finance): Yusuf Park (Devonshire Rovers AFC)

Vice President (Head of Youth): Robin Groenemeyer (Stephanians-Ottery AFC)

General Secretary: Grant Adams (Origan Spurs AFC)

Head of Referees: Eoin Baker (Clarewood AFC)

Head of Coaching: Fahdiel Losper (Greenwood Athletic AFC)

Trustee: Shaheed Perin

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