Rwanda: Three Teams Fined for Violating Covid-19 Guidelines

23 December 2020

The National Football governing body, FERWAFA, has fined three local teams over non-compliance with Covid-19 preventive guidelines which led to a spike in Covid-19 cases in different teams.

Data from the Ministry of Sports indicates that more than 5 topflight teams have registered Covid-19 infections amongst their playing staff.

The violation of set guidelines had already resulted in an indefinite suspension of the 2020/21 Rwanda Premier League on December 11, a decision that came after only three match days.

In a statement, FERWAFA noted that its disciplinary committee convened on December 13 and 18 and resolved to fine teams and one match commissioner, a resolution that came "after doing an assessment and listening to explanations of those who violated set preventive measures."

The main preventive measures in question include testing all players and staff three days before a given match and staying in the same residents to prevent any possible contraction of the virus.

Rayon Sports FC was fined Rwf2 million, after defying Covid-19 preventive measures, a misconduct whose adverse effects, according to FERWAFA, are still being felt by those who participated in the club's game against Rutsiro FC on December 4.

Southern Province-based AS Muhanga was also fined Rwf500, 000 for negligence in observing Covid-19 guidelines in a match that the team played against Etincelles FC on December 4.

Bugesera FC will also pay Rwf500, 000 over the same mistake during their match against Espoir FC on December 4.

Also fined is François Rwirasira, a match official who presided over the game between Rutsiro FC and Rayon Sports FC, and, as per FERWAFA, the commissioner did not examine Covid-19 test certificates of players and staff of both teams before the match.

All fines, according to FERWAFA, will be paid in a period of two months.

Other two match commissioners who did not verify negative tests of players and team officials are Issa Fungaroho during the AS Muhanga and Etincelles FC match, and Richard Twagirayezu during a game between Espoir FC and Bugesera FC.

However, both commissioners were not fined but instead given a last warning.

In a recent presser, the Minister for Sports, Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju had said that a number of teams in Rwanda football premier league were being investigated for allegedly giving fake Covid-19 documents.

League resumption in review

While clubs remain in dilemma over when exactly the league will resume, the football governing body is optimistic a consultative meeting with premier league clubs this week will help to set in place ways for the league to resume.

It is expected that on Thursday, December 24, FERWAFA will meet officials of premier league clubs to discuss the possibility of resuming the 2020/21 Rwanda Premier League.

In a recent presser, Mimosa had said that the current decision to suspend the Rwanda Premier League will be withdrawn after all the teams comply with fresh guidelines that were recently given to them.

Following the league suspension, FERWAFA was requested to review the Covid-19 guidelines before the Sports Ministry gives a green light to resume.

The meeting will "discuss the issues that came up at the beginning of the football premier league and brainstorm on the resumption of the 2020-21 football premier league," reads an email sent by FERWAFA Secretary-General Francois Regis Uwayezu to all topflight clubs.

Meanwhile, all players departed from their respective camps after being tested for Covid-19.

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