Thika appeals against Championship relegation playoffs
By Eric Njiru | Tue 09 May, 2017 12:53

Former Kenya Cup side Thika RFC has appealed a move to have Championship teams go to relegation playoffs.

A letter dated March 27, 2017, in possession of Raga House, addressed to Kenya Rugby Union CEO Ronald Bukusi, Thika RFC seeks “a hearing of the appeals committee at the earliest possible convenience, to deliberate upon one of the most critical and emotive of subjects – Promotion and Relegation of teams.

Thika RFC and JKUAT Cougars are set for Championship relegation playoffs with Ngong RFC and MKU Nairobi on June 3 after they finished in the last two positions. Ngong and MKU finished third and fourth in the Nationwide finals.

Thika RFC hopes to convince the said committee and in the process, apply Rule 2.7 of the KRU Regulations

2.7 Severability

If any provision of any KRU regulations shall be found to be void or unenforceable, such provisions shall be deemed to be deleted from the Regulations and the remaining provisions of these Regulations shall continue in full force and effect.

CONTENTIOUS REGULATION

12.2.7 Principles of Relegation

(b) The lowest 2 clubs of the Championship League shall be relegated to the Nationwide League whilst No. 9 and 10 of the Championship League will play off with No. 3 and 4 of Nationwide to determine which 2 teams shall fill the last slot in the Championship League.

Raga House however understands that the matter was listened to by the Leagues Committee who agreed the rule for teams to head to playoffs should stay.

Thika RFC then appealed again where they referred to the disciplinary committee which in turn said the matter is above them and so the Appeals Committee headed by Edward Rombo has invited Thika RFC chairman for a hearing on Saturday May 13, 2017.

“These rules about relegation playoffs were done in a very secretive manner, rules should be consistent. Even before the Championship came we had only two teams going up and two going down.”

“Why give losers another chance? MKU Nairobi and Ngong RFC lost in the Nationwide semis why then give them another chance? Why is Nationwide getting four slots up while Championship doesn’t get four slots up to the Kenya Cup?” asked Thika RFC chairman Gerald Chege.

See the full appeal here:

Dear Sir,

RE: CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE PROMOTION / RELEGATION FORMULA – REQUEST FOR APPEALS COMMITTEE HEARING

Please accept our compliments for the 2016 - 2017 season.

We seek a hearing of the Appeals Committee at the earliest possible convenience, to deliberate upon one of the most critical and emotive of subjects – Promotion and Relegation of teams.

We hope to convince the said committee and in the process, apply Rule 2.7 of the KRU Regulations

2.7 Severability

If any provision of any KRU regulations shall be found to be void or unenforceable, such provisions shall be deemed to be deleted from the Regulations and the remaining provisions of these Regulations shall continue in full force and effect.

CONTENTIOUS REGULATION

12.2.7 Principles of Relegation

(b) The lowest 2 clubs of the Championship League shall be relegated to the Nationwide League whilst No. 9 and 10 of the Championship League will play off with No. 3 and 4 of Nationwide to determine which 2 teams shall fill the last slot (?) in the Championship League.

The Championship is a newly created league with 12 teams, mirroring the Kenya Cup league.

It was created to simulate the conditions in the Kenya Cup, to increase competitiveness among teams and prepare promoted teams for the rigors of the top flight.

The first question that comes to mind obviously;

(i)  After relegation of the bottom 2 teams to the Nationwide League and Promotion of the top 2 teams from the Nationwide League to the Championship, thereby maintaining 12 teams as envisaged, where is/are the ‘last slot(s)’ mentioned in Regulation 12.2.7?

We contend that with the automatic relegation of BUNGOMA SHARKS and KEMU MERU and the automatic promotion of the FINALISTS from the NATIONWIDE PLAYOFFS, parity would have been achieved and the integrity of the competitions maintained.

We are vehemently opposed to the attempt to conjure up a new playoff opportunity from thin air for the reasons below.

(a). Unfair: The regulation 12.2.7(b) allows the clubs in the NWL to have 2 chances at earning promotion to the Championship, once during the normal playoffs and failing which, another diabolical route is created. All other leagues hitherto, and the Championship league currently, always gave clubs a single chance.

(b). Unsporting: The clubs referred to as number 3 & 4 are in fact the LOSERS of the NWL semi-final Playoffs. Historically, only winners have had opportunity to compete for Promotion to the upper leagues. Semi-final losers have never proceeded further in their competitions.

(c) Inconsistency: All the applicable regulations of the KRU MUST be consistent for all. The promotion and relegation procedure for Kenya Cup cannot be dissimilar to that of its mirror – Championship. In our opinion, politics of the vote-carrying members of the NWL is at play here, to placate them for the creation of the Championship (and their absence therein) and convince them that additional avenues (despite being borderline illegal) have been created to ensure they can get out of the desolation of the NWL.

This desolation, which is a creature of the same politicians that now need these voters and who feel inclined to hastily and secretly craft / amend rules for political expediency.

(d). Instability: Promotion and relegation rules are ordinarily crafted with a view to maintaining the stability and competitiveness of the leagues. The nature of play-offs is very unpredictable (for instance, it would be very likely that Homeboyz RFC may stumble at Semi-final stage despite carrying an unbeaten record for the entire league, during the Kenya Cup play-offs).

Regulation 12.2.7 (b) seeks to annually destabilize the Championship league with the possibility of 4 relegations and 4 promotions. Globally, this level of attrition is envisaged for big leagues (upwards 18 teams).

Small leagues of 12 teams like Championship need stability to enable them step-change to meaningful competitors and challengers for promotion to Kenya Cup.

(f). Fallacy: There is a misguided notion taking root in Kenyan Rugby that as long as matters are decided on the field-of-play, then they are covered by the sheen of credibility. The part of the conversation about how the teams managed to get to the field is glossed over.

During the play-offs for the 2013 -2014 NWL season, we travelled for a one-off match against reigning Champions – KABRAS SUGAR RFC- which we lost. There was no recourse or 2nd avenue to pursue the promotion.

During the 2014 -2015 NWL season, we played against Kisumu RFC in Kisumu where we won the match and we subsequently promoted to the Kenya Cup. Kisumu were given neither a reprieve nor 2nd option for another shot at promotion.

This is despite having an extremely heavy league NWL in those chaotic years.

Our closing remarks are as follows:

(i)            Laws are made for man and not vice-versa, there is urgent need to repeal this regulation.

(ii)           The regulations were made without the benefit of a technical working team to peruse them and thus have many errors of omission and commission. For instance there is a glaring anomaly with article 12.2.7(a).

We therefore urge your indulgence in this matter and to urgently convene the appeals committee to re-look at this issue and giving their ruling.

 Sincerely

GERALD CHEGE | CHAIRMAN

THIKA RUGBY CLUB

P.O.BOX 1439 -01000 THIKA


Tags
Thika RFC   Championship  
Eric Njiru
[email protected] 0726205521
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