In a surprising turn of events, Warriors Rugby Club have opted to miss the 2024 Rugby Championship, set to kick off this Saturday.
Uganda Rugby Union President Godwin Kayangwe confirmed that the newly promoted side failed to secure a spot due to their failure to sign the required Participation Agreement.
According to the regulations, teams must fulfill all registration requirements outlined in the Manual to be officially declared participating teams.
Warriors, scheduled for a home opener against Rhinos at Legends, will now miss the revamped season’s inaugural match.
Reports suggest that there is an ongoing clash among clubs hosting games at Legends ground, primarily fueled by sponsorship disagreements.
The clubs, including Warriors, have a partnership with Guinness, a direct competitor of the league’s sponsor, Nile Special.
The rules explicitly state that while clubs are encouraged to seek partners and sponsors, any conflicting affiliations with the title sponsor may not infringe on the sponsor’s rights.
This conflict has created a contentious situation for the four clubs – KOBs, Rhinos, Warriors, and Panthers (Women).
A letter from the Union issued on Tuesday reminded these clubs to sign the Participation Agreement before the Wednesday 12 pm deadline.
While KOBs and Rhinos submitted agreements, Kayangwe disclosed irregularities, currently under discussion.
Kayangwe clarified on Friday, “We are not shifting the goalposts; we made it clear that participation without signing the agreement is not permissible.”
According to the rules, failure to sign the Participation Agreement results in nullified participation, and their scheduled fixtures are considered bye games.
Warriors Rugby Club now faces the consequences of this administrative lapse as the Rugby Championship prepares for an intense start without their presence.
New Format Regulations:
•Both senior and reserve teams will play each other in a single round-robin format (being playing the other team either home or away)
•The reserve championship will end after round robin and first place crowned champion.
•The top 8 senior teams at the end of the regular season will proceed to the knock-out stages and will play according to rankings with quarterfinals being played on a home and away basis.
•At conclusion of the quarters then the winners of ( b) above will proceed to play the semi-finals as per the fixtures pathway. This will be on a home and away basis.
•The winners of the semi- finals in ( c ) above will play in a one -off final to determine the Champion.
e) The bottom 4 senior teams at the end of the regular season will proceed to the relegation play-off stages and will play according to rankings with relegation finals being played home and away.
•The two (2 ) losers in ( e) above will be relegated.