Local football governing body Fufa and topflight league managers Uganda Premier League are determined to squeeze every juice in the system to complete the StarTimes Uganda Premier League to avoid a second successive premature end to the season.
The nail Fufa and UPL want to avoid stepping on with the invoking of the 75-percent force majeure clause is the broadcast sponsors StarTimes' no nonsense approach that saw them retain 10 percent of last season's financial kitty.
Fufa last year truncated the league with five rounds to play and awarded Vipers the title. But despite the precedent, the federation is determined to play the league to conclusion.
UPL chief executive Bernard Bainamani said they are mooting ideas to advance to government. The aim is secure an exemption to allow the final league games and enable the now-camped Uganda Cranes prepare for next month's Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup under strict health measures.
The two bodies have been seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja.
"There was that idea to engage the government to allow us to finish the few remaining games," Bainamani says. "If that exemption is given for a certain period, then it will not be hard to move players and teams."
Last season, Fufa were prepared to wait but with little engagement and no end to the pandemic's wrath in sight, Vipers were crowned with five games to play. Maroons, Proline and Tooro United were relegated.
Fufa third vice-president and executive committee member representing UPL clubs, Florence Nakiwala, is among those pushing for the clause in Article 18 of Fufa Competition Rules to be activated again.
Nakiwala last week wasted no time in moving the motion to that effect.
"I'd like to move the motion that the league be cancelled at this stage since all clubs have played up to 75 percent of their games as per [the] Fufa Competitions Rules."I believe in the spirit of safety that this would be the ideal decision to make," Nakiwala wrote to Fufa president Moses Magogo.
Nakiwala's position is understandable; Caf will require Fufa to submit the participants of the 2021/22 Caf Champions League and Confederations Cup by July 31.
The date was extended from June 30 to accommodate leagues whose schedules had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Uganda, league champions represent in the Caf Champions League, while Fufa reserves the right to decide the Confederations Cup reprsentatives, usually awarded to Uganda Cup winners - the Cup had reached at semifinals - except last season when league runners-up KCCA got the berth.
"We'll cross the bridge when we get to it. We're still handling a number of other implications of the directives," Fufa deputy CEO Decolas Kiiza said, in apparent reference to the 42-day nationwide lockdown imposed by President Museveni last week.
Bainamani revealed that the League lost about 10 percent of the StarTimes sponsorship because of the premature end last season, one of the reason they would love to explore all the options possible to complete the league.
"We had to settle for a 10-percent reduction from the sponsors last season because the league didn't conclude," he said.
"This is one of the reasons we want to explore the option of completion to avoid such a loss. But the most important thing is to have champions and teams relegated declared sportingly if we can but if it fails, then we use the 75 percent rule."
It's a new normal, stupid!
With the spike in community transmissions and rising death toll due to the second wave of the pandemic, there have been concerns over the health security of the players and officials involved in the game.
Bainamani challenged everyone to adapt to the new normal.
"We started the season under the pandemic and will complete it so it is more of knowing how to manage it like the health experts are guiding us."
Express lead the table with 58 points, one clear of URA in second. Vipers are third on 56. Kitara and Myda are already relegated.
Kyetume (23), Busoga United (26) and Onduparaka (28) are engaged in the relegation dogfight.
Issues at stake
New lockdown enforced has put UPL to bed for at least the next 39 days with five round to play.
Fufa last season invoked the 75% clause in the Competitions Rule to end league with five games to play.
Caf require federations to submit names of Champions League and Confederations Cup reps by July 31.
UPL 2020-21 standings
Team P W D L F A Pts
1.Express 26 17 7 2 44 13 58
2.URA 26 17 6 3 41 18 57
3.Vipers 26 17 5 4 56 21 56
4.KCCA 27 14 6 7 56 22 48
5.Bright Stars 27 11 9 7 40 27 42
6.Police 27 11 7 9 50 31 40
7.Mbarara City 27 10 8 9 30 34 38
8.UPDF 27 11 4 12 34 39 37
9.Wakiso Giants 26 8 12 6 42 33 36
10.SC Villa 27 9 9 9 29 30 36
11.Bul 27 9 6 12 39 41 33
12.Onduparaka 26 8 4 14 25 45 28
13.Busoga United 26 6 8 12 21 44 26
14.Kyetume 27 5 8 14 28 47 23
15.Myda 27 3 5 19 32 77 14
16.Kitara 27 3 4 20 35 80 13
editorial@ug. nationmedia. com