Rugby Africa (RA) has cancelled all competitions for the 2020 season, including the Rugby Africa Cup that was due to kick off on May 30.
The federation has also released 170,000 Euros (Kshs1.87 million) from solidarity funds to aid member states in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision to cancel the competitions follows a joint agreement reached with the federations consulted on May 7 and 8.
Furthermore, the federation Medical Committee led by Dr Elvis Tano highlights that the variable evolution of COVID-19 in different parts of Africa does not enable a clear picture of when the pandemic will peak in Africa and when the end will be in sight.
“The health and safety of our players, fans, staff, partners and local communities remains 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,” said Dr. Tano.
RA support for member countries, where financial resources allow, involves the release of a one-off solidarity fund for rugby team activities and preparations.
All member federations are eligible for this financial aid to support their rugby communities towards distribution of food packages, meals, or PPEs, emergency food and medical support for clubs and players in their respective countries.
Federations may use funds depending on their needs, while the financial aid granted will consider the size of the federation and its level of development.
Although the official 2020 competition schedule has been cancelled, Rugby Africa reiterates its wish to support cross-border matches or sub-regional tournaments organized by federations where possible in 2020.
Rugby Africa Vice President Andrew Owor concludes: “This is certainly one of the most difficult decisions we've ever had to make but it also seems to be the most reasonable option given the current circumstances. We clearly had plenty of reasons to resume the 2019-20 season, but considering the exceptional situation, we must prioritise our community’s health first and foremost. By doing so, we remain true to our convictions. However, we still hope to be able to organise some matches this year. Over the next few months, we have a single mission: to do our utmost to help our communities to come back stronger and get local-level competition up and running as soon as possible. Given Africa’s size and diversity, a localised approach makes sense.”