Rwanda gives green light for return of sporting activities

Rwanda’s Ministry of Sports has announced that all sporting disciplines in the country are now permitted by the government to resume training and competitions.

“Starting from Monday, September 28, strictly in compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines, all sports events are allowed to resume their activities,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement further said that sports federations and associations have been instructed to share detailed timelines and COVID-19 safety guidelines with the Ministry of Sports for approval before any competition can be organized.

Sports events were also asked by the ministry to ensure that prevention strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during sports activities are followed and implemented.

Sporting activities have been suspended in Rwanda since March 15 as the government put in place preventive measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gradual reopening started in June and continued in July, as the ministry allowed training for individual sports such as cycling, athletics, golf, tennis, hiking, motorsports and martial arts.

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In August, the Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) announced that the 2020-21 Rwanda Premier League season is set to start on 30 October, six months after the previous season was ended early due to COVID-19. Consequently, FERWAFA handed army side APR the title, their record 18th, based on the standings after Match Day 23, and subsequently, results from Match Day 24 have been cancelled as not all teams had played round 24 games..

At the same time, Heroes FC and Gicumbi FC who were bottom of the pile with 15 and 16 points respectively were relegated from the top tier.

The 2020-21 season calendar composes of unfinished competitions for the 2019/2020 season that were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, including the second division men’s league play-offs, and the first and second division women’s league.

A statement on the FERWAFA webside read:

The Ferwafa Competitions Calendar released includes the period when the postponed competitions for the 2019/2020 season will resume.

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“These competitions include the Second Division Men’s League play-offs which will be played in a single knock-out format at a yet to be named venue in Kigali from October 2-17, 2020 while respecting measures put in place to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The first and second division women’s leagues will also be played between October 3 to December 20, 2020.

“The Rwanda Premier League season 2020-2021 is tentatively planned to kick-off on October 30, 2020 and climax on May 20, 2021.

“The Second Division Men’s League season 2020-2021 will also tentatively kick-off on October 31, 2020, and climax on May 29, 2021.

“The Heroes Cup and Peace Cup competitions have also been planned in the Ferwafa Competitions Calendar. The 2021 edition of the Heroes Cup tournament will be played from January 19 to February 1, 2021, while the 2021 edition of the Peace Cup Competition is expected to kick-off on the weekend of February 4-5, 2020, and climax on June 5, 2021.

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“The 2021 edition of the Women’s first division league is planned to kick-off on February 19, 2021, and climax on July 31, 2021, while the women’s second division league will kick-off on February 20, 2021, and climax on July 24, 2021, respectively.”

According to official figures, Rwanda had reported 4,832 COVID-19 cases in total, with 3,117 recoveries and 29 deaths as at Monday 28 September 2020.

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