Africa’s supreme rugby body, Rugby Afrique, earlier this morning announced the indefinite suspension of the 2020 Rugby season and pledged financial aid to all its member unions.
Corona Virus has had the world in hibernation now with all major sports events canceled and the African governing body has taken the same route, following an online meeting held last week on Thursday, May 28.
A group of medical workers on the RA Medical Team led by Dr. Elvis Tano believes that the safety of the entire rugby community takes precedent.
He comments: “The health and safety of our players, fans, staff, partners and local communities remain our top priority.” There is still too much uncertainty what course the pandemic will take over the next few weeks to feel confident about resuming competition.”
The decision for the cancelation was also influenced by continent-wide misgivings like:
1. The current bans on travel, public gatherings, and sporting events across Africa mean it is unlikely competitions will start up again on the continent this year.
2. Not all African nations will lift restrictions at the same time, or in the same way. This would compromise some countries’ participation.
3. Travel costs are expected to increase significantly.
4. Potential quarantine requirements could require some players to spend much longer periods abroad.
The cancelation affects activities like U20 Barthes Trophy (initially scheduled for April 18), Rugby Africa Cup (set to commence on 30th May for the ladies), Rugby Africa Cup (set to start 30th Many through to August for the men) Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens (October 31st), Africa Men’s Sevens (Date was yet to be set).
Nevertheless, the union has pledged to support cross-border competitions or regional competitions organized by unions if the current situation brought about by COVID-19 improves to enable matches to take place.
In line with this declaration, RA has approved the immediate release of EUR 170,000 (approx UGX 716 Million) from a solidarity fund to benefit the member unions.
The funds will cater to food packages, meals, or PPE (masks, hand sanitizer gels, etc.) Clubs and players will also benefit from emergency food and medical support.
Commenting on the relief package, RA President Khaled Babbou said, “This financial support supplements a range of initiatives already rolled out to boost our rugby community and highlights the shared values and cooperation dear to our organization. We must also stand together and continue to do everything we can to support those combating the pandemic.”
Member Unions include Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo Brazaville, Democratic Republic Of Congo, Egypt, Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Cote D’Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Author: Lewis Ssemujju
Lewis is a talkative, and budding writer with lots of bias to rugby and weirdly – SEO. He has a passion for philanthropy.