Tuesday Sep 29, 2020. 13:00
Uganda will have to wait at least an extra month longer for the return of football in the country.
The Uganda Premier League’s (UPL) 2019-20 season was scrapped back in May due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it was hoped that the new campaign would begin on October 17.
However, health and safety protocols, as well as the high cost of Covid-19 testing has necessitated another month’s delay.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has given the green light for sports such as football to return in Uganda, but FUFA (the country’s Football Association) and UPL have admitted that adhering to the testing and other requirements is currently beyond their means.
“We’ve been making preparations, licensing and doing everything to ensure October 17 kickoff. We’ve been negotiating with government,” said Justus Mugisha, FUFA first vice president, as quoted by Daily Monitor.
“Fortunately, or unfortunately, we were allowed to play but the conditions are not favourable for the October 17 kickoff. Therefore, in order to allow more time for negotiations and preparations, we have postponed (league resumption) by one month.”
KCCA vice chairman Aggrey Ashaba said, “We’ve had a couple of deliberations around Covid interventions and how they can be mitigated and we’ve been given some assurance by the federation and UPL that they will engage the Ministry of Health to support with the testing.
“At current rate, it will cost clubs almost Shs11m every 14 days to run the test and that is besides the rest of the SOPs. We believe they will work on our concerns and support football clubs to meaningfully get back to action because of the implications of not having fans into the stadiums means revenues are going to be lower than anticipated.”
An extra layer of complication is added by the fact that the promotion playoffs for the 2020-21 season have yet to be completed. Kataka are scheduled to play Kitara while Kiboga Young await Ndejje University in the semifinal duels at Njeru Technical Centre on a yet to be decided date.