Uganda Premier League CEO Bernard Bainamani has clarified on a couple of issues as the curtains of the first round set to come down this week.
In a press brief on Monday morning at Kati Kati, Bainamani said that the second round will kickoff in early April and notably without lunchtime kickoffs.
The first round was marred with double headers especially at FUFA Technical centre Njeru with teams required to endure the scorching sun for the first 1pm kickoff game.
“The spirit behind this initially was that since we are playing behind closed doors, we should increase on the number of televised matches viewers can watch,” Bainamani stated.
“So we agreed with the broadcaster on this introduction of double-headers, that if an OB van comes to the venue, they can do both games, that was the initial plan.
“But along the way, there were some technical challenges and the plan was never implemented. Then we looked at the possibility of readjusting, like separating those doubleheaders but then we saw it could create chaos and we decided to go through them painfully.”
League broadcaster Sanyuka TV (StarTimes) has not televised any double header since the league started.
Clubs have also complained about the tight league schedule, with a team playing a game every after two or three days.
Express FC coach Wasswa Bbosa was recently vocal, saying that “players are not machines” and UPL has got to be considerate when scheduling games.
In response, Bainamani says that Clubs should embrace the new normal.
“On the issue of congested fixture, we are in a new normal, we lost four months as regards our normal activities. It was inevitable, we didn’t invite Covid19 or lockdown,” he stated.
“Its done elsewhere, I saw Man United game last night and you could see tired guys and you can tell that their bodies are worn out. This is the new normal which we have adjusted to. We are holding meetings on zoom, which we were never used before. We just have to accept that we are operating in an abnormal situation.”
Bainamani also confirmed that StarTimes has issued out renumeration to clubs.
He said: “I would like to clear the air that 2019/20 last quarter was cleared by StarTimes, Quarter one of 2020/21 is also wired as we talk, from here we are going to send to clubs. Then quarter two was due and payable on February 27 and they have 30 days within to pay, so I would sat that they are update. We don’t owe them, unless the amount due but still they are within the 30 days they should be paying.”
There has been a recent scare that escalated last week that league sponsor StarTimes may fail to honour their contract before the season ends.
The sponsor is at the edge of an abyss and a possible liquidation is on the cards over an Sh11 million debt from beIN media who dragged them to court over unpaid football broadcasting rights for France Ligue 1.
“On the story of liquidation, I would like to relay the information from StarTimes, we had a meeting with them and they clarified that the liquidation in Hong Kong has nothing to do with the one in Uganda and they assured us that they are doing well and will fulfil their obligations as per our contract to the dot as regards payment. They are saying that they are not affected at all,” Bainamani added.
He cautioned clubs and fans about observing FUFA Covid19 regulations, adding that they risk a government ban of no fans permanently.
The CEO told the media that they have a big role to play as well in the development of the league, and asked them not to just criticise but provide solutions to some of the infringements.
The second round fixture is expected to be released today or later this week.
Remaining UPL Fixture:
Tuesday, March 16
*Police FC Vs Express FC, Lugogo (Live on Sanyuka TV)
*UPDF FC Vs Wakiso Giants, Bombo
Wednesday, March 17
*Soltilo Bright Stars Vs SC Villa, Kavumba
*Vipers SC Vs KCCA FC, Kitende
*Mbarara City vs BUL FC, Kakyeka
*Onduparaka vs URA FC, Arua
Thursday, March 18
*Kyetume vs MYDA FC, Njeru (Live on Sanyuka TV)
*Busoga United vs Kitara, Njeru (Live on Sanyuka TV)