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New Zealand looks for return of spectator sport from next week

New Zealand looks for return of spectator sport from next week
June 4, 2020

Professional sport in New Zealand could welcome fans back to venues as early as next week with the nation’s Government set to decide whether to lift all social distancing restrictions imposed to due the Coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce next Monday whether the country is ready to bring its alert system down to Level 1, which would lift limits on mass gatherings that were imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Already this week Prime Minister Ardern has given indications that easing will happen, stating yesterday “at Level 1, all current rules on businesses and services are essentially lifted … sports and concert stadiums can be sold out.”

Such as move would see the opening-round matches of the country’s new Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament - due to start on 13th June - played in front of fans.

Prime Minister Ardern said the New Zealand Government was working with stadiums to create a ‘COVID code’ to ensure contact tracing was in place in case sports fans tested positive for the Coronavirus, adding “for those larger events it is a matter of preparedness for us. We may be confident that we’re an environment where we do not have COVID in circulation.”

Facing significant losses and having been forced to make staff unemployed, New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Robinson told Radio New Zealand the positive outlook was “breathing a huge amount of life into the game”, adding “there are a lot of things to be optimistic about for the second half of the year.”

Professional sport returned to the country on Wednesday with the opening day of the NZ Premier League Tennis tournament at Auckland’s closed Albany Stadium, a $90,000 event organised to give local-based players a chance to earn income.

Organisers said they would look at opening the three-week event to fans if given the go-ahead next week.

New Zealand recorded no new cases of Coronavirus for a 12th consecutive day on Wednesday and has just one active case.

Image: Highlanders fans could be watching their team at Forsyth Barr Stadium next week when the new Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament kicks off in Dunedin on 13th June. Image courtesy of Forsyth Barr Stadium.

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5th May 2020 - New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern says no open borders for ‘a long time’

4th May 2020 - Chair named for Christchurch Stadium project

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27th April 2020 - New Zealand Sports Minister advises of permissible activities under eased Coronavirus Alert

20th March 2020 - ANZ Premiership shutdown marks end of all top-level sport in New Zealand

12th March 2020 - 25 years of Chiefs Rugby to be celebrated at FMG Stadium Waikato

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14th January 2020 - Video shows renovation of Forsyth Barr Stadium’s playing surface

29th November 2019 - Crusaders Super Rugby team to retain name following post-Christchurch mosque attack review

22nd August 2019 - Wellington Regional Stadium Trust reveals naming rights deal with the Sky Network

10th November 2017 - Highlanders’ Super Rugby fixtures deliver near $2 million boost for Dunedin

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