Thika RFC has been relegated to the Nationwide league after losing an appeal at the Sports Disputes and Tribunal.
Thika had moved to the tribunal to have their Championship-Nationwide relegation playoff game against Ngong RFC cancelled but the tribunal quashed the prayers.
When regular season returns on Saturday November 25, 2017, Thika RFC will now compete in the Central Nationwide league after one year in the Kenya Cup and another one in the second tier competition, the Championship.
Ngong RFC on their side are promoted to the KRU Championship. They join Menengai Oilers, Egerton Wasps, South Coast Pirates, Catholic Monks, USIU, UoE, Kisumu RFC, JKUAT Cougars among others.
Club chairman Gerald Chege had moved to the tribunal seeking it to set aside KRU’s decision to award a walkover for the match between them and Ngong RFC that was set for June 2017 pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
Thika were to host the match but didn’t show up arguing it’s against the law.
KRU regulations say teams that finish in the ninth and 10th position (Thika, JKUAT) will go to a relegation playoff with those that finish fourth in the National Nationwide League (Ngong, MKU Nairobi).
Thika sought to challenge rule 12.2.6 and 12.2.7 on relegation arguing that KRU sneaked ridiculous, unfair and unjust rule 12.2.7 into the Kenya Rugby Union rules and regulations without consultation, inclusivity and contrary to equitable rules of regulation.
They also argued that the said rule is inconsistent with established principles of relegation in Rugby Sports World over and a departure from the necessity to maintain consistency and uniformity in the governance of rugby.
Furthermore, Thika argued that a rule purporting to award a lower league semi-finalist loser a one-off kick knockout chance for promotion against a team that has made effort through the pendency of the entire season to finish the league among the top ten teams can never be justified.
On their part, the Kenya Rugby Union replied that regulation 12.1.3(a) and (b) of the KRU regulations on Adult Competition provides for KRU’s power to vary, amend or make further regulations during the season. As such, KRU argued that Thika RFC acted procedurally in altering the principals of regulation in the draft rules and regulations adopted by the Annual General Meeting.
The tribunal having appreciated submission and documents supplied by counsels in support of their respective positions, there is, in their view, one issue for determination and upon which the entire appeal hinges which “whether KRU properly promulgated the rule regarding relegation and promotion of the rules.”
Tribunal’s reading of the regulation 12.1.3(a) & (b) is that it is clear that in the event that KRU organizing committee considers it is in the interests of the rugby union, it may amend or vary regulation 12 and appendices during a season. Further, the committee may at its own instigation introduce regulation for the current season and determine results of matches that have been played for.