Nairobi, April 10 (IANS) Kenya’s domestic rugby season has been cancelled, thus becoming the latest sporting casualty of the global coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement issued in Nairobi, the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) on Thursday announced the decision to end all league and cup competitions for the 2019/20 season, becoming the first local governing sports body to do so as the country battles to contain the spread of COVID-19, reports Xinhua news agency.
The annulled competitions include the Kenya Cup (top-flight league), Championship (second tier), and nationwide leagues, as well as Enterprise and Mwamba cup tournaments.
“The cancelation means there will be no promotion or relegation in any of the leagues, with all teams remaining in their current division,” affirmed the communication signed by KRU secretary, Ian Mugambi.
The cancelled leagues were at the play-off stages at the time of suspension of all sporting activity in Kenya for an initial 30 days last month, when the country reported its first positive coronavirus case on March 13.
Due to the play-off system, title winners cannot be decided unless the remaining fixtures are completed, and with the lockdown likely to be extended, the KRU board added they were left with no choice other than to cancel the season altogether.
Mugambi assured affected clubs, sponsors and fans that a range of options were explored, but the broad consensus reached across the game was that annulling the campaign was the most appropriate outcome.
“Our primary concern remains the health and safety of all our stakeholders, including the players, technical teams, officials, fans as well as groundsmen and security personnel,” said Mugambi.
The decision to resume rugby activities and fixtures will be subject to the direction and guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Sports, according to the Union.
So far, all football leagues, including the top-tier Kenyan Premier League and Nationwide Football League second division, remain suspended, with the Kenyan government closing all training camps for athletics.