The Uganda Premier League (UPL) originally scheduled to resume on October 17 has been pushed back with a tentative date for the season opener by a month.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni had earlier given the go-ahead for resumption of football in the country, but FUFA, UPL and their stakeholders must adhere to certain stringent health and coronavirus precautions before football kickstarts.
The postponement of the topflight league was announced by FUFA and UPL at their general assembly with clubs unable to meet some of the requirements issued by the president, with their inability to pay for bi-monthly Covid-19 tests.
“We’ve been making preparations, licensing and doing everything to ensure October 17 kick-off. We’ve been negotiating with government,” FUFA first vice president Justus Mugisha said.
“Fortunately, or unfortunately, we were allowed to play but the conditions are not favourable for the October 17 kick-off. Therefore, in order to allow more time for negotiations and preparations, we have postponed (league resumption) by one month.”
“In the same vein, we’ve extended registration of players by a month,” added Mugisha.
The promotional league playoffs are yet to be completed as the final UPL slot is still up for grabs, with Kataka set to play Kitara and Kiboga Young to play Ndejje University in the semi-final on a yet to be decided date.
With Covid-19 tests costing Shs240,000 per person, clubs now hope for government or FUFA intervention.
“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,” said Aggrey Ashaba, KCCA vice-chairman.
“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.”
The National Council of Sports (NCS) Assistant General Secretary-Technical David Katende said that the national team would be given first priority when sports resumes in the country, while NCS chairman Don Rukare said that the government was still unable to help clubs with financial contributions.