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Kenya Rugby faulted for cancelling competitions
By Eric Njiru | Thu 09 Apr, 2020 20:46

Kenya Rugby Union(KRU) has been faulted over the decision to cancel leagues due to Corona Virus that has left the entire World on lock-down.

KRU on Thursday evening sent out a statement confirming the cancellation of Kenya Cup, Eric Shirley Shield (ESS), Championship and Nationwide leagues. Enterprise Cup and Mwamba Cup are also cancelled. 

"The cancellation means there will be NO Promotion or Relegation in any of the leagues, with all teams remaining in their current division," said KRU Hon.Sec Ian Mugambi via the statement. 

Former KRU CEO Jack Okoth and an unnamed current chairman of a Kenya Cup side faulted the Union over the bold move. All leagues were set for quarters before suspension on March 14.

"Every club goes into a competition competing for a reward, when the reward is negated it waters down the competitiveness and takes away the inviolability of the competition," said the Kenya Cup side chairman.

"Let us borrow a leaf from the Belgian league, Club Brugge have been declared Belgian champions after the remainder of the country’s professional league season was cancelled on Thursday due to the corona virus pandemic. Brugge were declared winners with one round of matches left to play before the start of the post-season playoffs, involving the top six clubs."

"The most unfortunate part about the decision is that none of the clubs were consulted. Teams that have worked hard to gain promotion will be condemned to another year of relegation yet only one match stands in there way towards playing the Kenya cup."

"Clubs and sponsors have spent so much money and invested so much and it is disappointing that worldwide sports organizations are looking for resolutions, but we chose the route for cancellation without consulting stake holders."

Ian Mugambi told Raga House the decision to cancel the six competitions was made by the Kenya Rugby Union board of directors.

"There were deliberations across the board and all options were considered. Things like player welfare, Safari 7s, new season and internationals. We are already four weeks off so by the time we resume it's not possible."

Jack Okoth is against the decision saying "Olympics have been postponed. The World Sevens Series have also been postponed even the Safari Rally has been postponed, not cancelled. KRU doesn't seem to have a business continuity plan."

"They made a unilateral decision without consultation nor reflection. The Kenyan leagues are amateur by nature and is all about pride. The games were already at the playoff stage. Why can't we just pick up from where we left? Of what value is the cancellation? What is the basis?"

"Clubs need to have a say on this matter. Rugby is our core business. Everyone is gutted. This game is about competition. Some teams have worked hard to get to the top and somebody wants to use boardroom decisions to determine who plays in the top leagues".

"Right now we have players who are starving in slums. Instead of the board mobilizing sponsors and the rugby community to help, they are busy shutting the game down."

MMUST, Kabras Sugar and KCB had secured home semis while Strathmore Leos, who won all 16 regular matches, had a perfect chance to bounce back to the Kenya Cup alongside the likes of Mean Machine and MMUST.

In England, RFU used a points-per-game method to determine the final standings for the 2019/20 rugby season after it became clear the season would not be completed due to Corona Virus. 

The RFU confirmed that proposals to end the season were ratified by the RFU council, and that final standings for the Greene King IPA Championship and men’s and women’s community game would be calculated on a best playing record formula, maintaining promotion and relegation for those leagues. Newcastle Falcons were thus promoted to the Premiership. 

Few hours before KRU statement,¬†Premiership Rugby announced that it is working on possible scenarios to restart the season¬†but not until ‚Äúit is safe to do so‚ÄĚ.¬†

Premiership Rugby organisers are liaising with the Rugby Football Union, clubs and medical staff on a number of potential scenarios. It said in a statement: “The intention is to play all games and complete the season as soon as it can be done safely.

Eric Njiru
Award-winning, bold, independent Rugby Journalist and Radio Presenter in Kenya, Southern Hemisphere with experience in Match-Day Reporting, News and Interviews. Covering Kenya 7s around the World. Email: ericnjiru41@gmail.com +254726205521
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