Getting under the Proline - UPL story

Monday September 9 2019

Star players. Proline asked for the game to be

Star players. Proline asked for the game to be called off because players Bright Anukani (Left) and Mustafa Mujuzi (Right) were with the Uganda Cranes team that played Kenya in a friendly in Nairobi. Photo by Eddie Chicco 

By ANDREW MWANGUHYA

So Proline did not show up at Lugogo for their scheduled StarTimes Uganda Premier League (SUPL) match against SC Villa on Saturday!

Villa did turn up, and will demand authorities award them their three points and as many goals as per regulations for a match where an opponent does not show up.

Yet Proline have their reasons, too. And they have Fifa rules and regulations to fall back on, which stipulate that international matches that fall on a Fifa break “take priority over matches in a national championship.”

Therefore Proline had to release their two star players, Mustafa Mujuzi and Bright Anukani, to join the Uganda Cranes team that played Kenya in a friendly in Nairobi last evening. With that, they wrote to league authorities that they would not honour their fixture against Villa.

Seeking sporting justice
Proline will have reasoned that without the above players their chances against Villa were dented. And besides, they have backing of Fifa rules.

Yet, Fufa’s own rules and regulations (article 19 {26}) - blessed by Fifa, add that only
“If a club has three or more players in the national team, fixtures involving such a club may be called off three days before and three days after the national team engagement.”

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Now, UPL did follow the above in communicating moving of matches of clubs with three or more players (KCCA and Vipers) in the Cranes. Proline and Villa did not have that number.

However, while KCCA (five players with Cranes) could actually comfortably play without at least three senior players, two star players missing for Proline would leave them struggling. On that front, Proline’s case for sporting justice could suffice.

Yet, while Proline could hold onto the sanctity of the Fifa international break, the FA can always call on article 38 of Fufa regulations that states “All matters not provided for in these rules shall be decided by the Fufa executive committee” to call the club to ‘order.’

Seeing through UPL pain
According to William Bakkabulindi, the Proline CEO, they were willing to play without Mujuzi because his call up happened in good time.

But they were only forced to ask for the game to be called off when they learnt from the media last Thursday that Anukani had also been drafted in late - leaving them thinner, and Fufa only communicated to them officially on Friday evening.

Proline engaged UPL all this time. The league secretariat, however, insisted the match proceeds. “Proline will now engage Fufa to prevail over the same,” said Bakkabulindi.

Yet UPL’s reasoning also draws empathy. With KCCA and Proline now playing this weekend in Caf, they will have two league games pending.

Then there is the double-legged Chan qualifier against Burundi in a fortnight, Women U-20 next month, an international break for Afcon 2021 in November, Cecafa in December and Chan 2020 finals in January and February next year.

League management speaks out

“Some of things we can’t control, for example, every time KCCA and Proline progress in Caf, we have to adjust fixtures. Then we have Cecafa which we are hosting, the Women U20, then Chan and Afcon qualifiers and Chan Championship finals. That’s why we are trying our best to fix these fixtures. We are not doing this to fail any clubs.”
Paul Kabaikaramu, league manager

amwanguhya@ug.nationmedia.com

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