Allow fans back into stadiums

Withdrawal of league sponsors BetKing left sport in perilous situation

In Summary

• Covid-hit sport is in desperate need of publicity and viewership

AFC Leopards fans
AFC Leopards fans
Image: FILE

The government has allowed public service vehicles to carry their maximum capacity after the number was downsized to enable social distancing during the Covid-19 period. It is not actually a surprise, considering this guideline was abused by many matatus with reckless abandon. 

However, in a clear case of selective treatment, no fans are allowed to enter stadiums to watch football matches. The game is in a difficult place right now coupled with the withdrawal of BetKing, the league sponsors for this season. 

Fans should have been allowed to attend football matches as early as last year, when all the European leagues were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Compared to the developed nations, Kenya has not been so much ravaged by the virus. This is not to diminish in any way the fact that many people have lost their lives to the virus, while other families are yet to get over the loss of a loved one. 

While other countries were still grappling with the resumption of their respective leagues, we should have used that opportunity to quench fans’ thirst for some football action by resuming ours and allowing fans to attend. 

With this may seem a suicidal idea, it would have been a blessing in disguise for the local league by increasing its publicity and viewership. After all, large public gatherings have been happening unabated and with reckless abandon with regards to Covid-19 prevention measures. A case in point is the Madarake Day celebrations on June 1 at Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu. 

Of course, even with the return of fans to stadiums, Covid-19 prevention measures will have to be put in place. We could start off with a reduced number of fans, while assessing the situation and exploring options for full fan attendance.

This story first appeared on Star Sasa, accessible on Sundays for Sh10 on

Edited by T Jalio

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