Three prominent rugby clubs, namely KOBs, Rhinos, and Warriors, face the imminent threat of being expelled from the ongoing 2023 Uganda Cup due to a sponsorship dispute.
The non-participation of these clubs during the tournament’s commencement at various venues last weekend has raised concerns regarding their continued involvement.
At the heart of this issue lies a sponsorship conflict arising from Nile Special’s backing of the tournament, a product of Nile Breweries, conflicting with the allegiance of the trio – who are based at Legends ground – to Guinness, a product of Uganda Breweries Limited.
Scheduled matches between KOBs and Warriors, along with Rhinos and Lira Bulls, slated for an early kickoff at Legends last weekend, were notably absent from the fixture list due to this sponsorship discrepancy.
Efforts were made by the clubs to resolve this conflict by requesting a meeting with Nile Special before the upcoming weekend’s matches.
However, indications suggest that the meeting held on Monday might not have yielded any significant breakthrough in resolving the impasse.
Despite this ongoing dispute, the affected teams are listed for this weekend’s fixtures: KOBs are set to visit Mbarara Titans, Warriors to face Plascon Mongers, and Rhinos scheduled against Gulu City Falcons.
Uganda Rugby Union President, Godwin Kayangwe, responded to the clubs’ concerns in a statement obtained by this website. He explained that the clubs remained on the fixture list with the anticipation that discussions would yield positive outcomes, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing the sport.
However, following recent meetings with sponsors and the executive committee, Kayangwe outlined two critical issues:
- Nile Breweries Limited will not accept coexistence with a competing brand, despite promising advanced stages of planning welfare and additional support for the clubs earlier this year.
- URU insists that clubs must sign necessary documents to participate in tournaments, emphasizing the importance of upholding sustainable structures.
Kayangwe further noted that if the clubs adhere to the required documentation, the Technical Committee is open to adjusting fixtures.
Failure to comply could result in the clubs being completely removed from the tournament, potentially facing repercussions if the weekend games also fail to materialize.
*Heathens 30-00 Kyambogo
*Pirates 03-13 Eagles
*Hippos 53-00 Gulu City Falcons
*Tooro Lions 00-95 Walukuba
*Njeru Hurricanes 30-18 Mbarara Titans
*Mbale Elgon Wolves 40-00 Kitgum Lions
*Rhinos Vs Lira Bulls
*KCB KOBS vs Warriors