NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 29 – Kenyan rugby clubs will have to wait longer to know whether or not they can conclude the season halted in March by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government restrictions therein put into effect to curb the spread of the virus.
Addressing the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Annual General Meeting (AGM) held virtually via Zoom on Wednesday evening, Union boss Oduor Gangla says they are still holding consultative meetings with the government authorities to know when it is safe for sports to return.
“Many are keen to know when rugby will return. I don’t have the answer today but we continue to engage the Government and soon there will be a pronouncement on the way forward. After that we will sit and engage with stakeholders to see way forward for our game,” Gangla said.
The Union had made a decision to call an end to the Kenya Cup, Enterprise Cup and Championship seasons after the stoppage occasioned by the pandemic, but a petition by clubs forced the Union to rescind the decision.
With virus cases still soaring, uncertainty on whether sports will continues this year continue to grow slim. But, the Government through the Ministry of Sports set up a committee to look at ways where sports can return safely.
Non-contact sports were given a go ahead by the Ministry, but with rugby being a highly contact sport, the protocols surrounding its return are set to be tougher.
-First ever virtual AGM
The Union held the AGM virtually for the first time ever, also due to the restrictions set by the government to contain the spread of the virus that has killed more than 200 people in the country so far.
At the AGM, members were briefed on the Union’s financial status with the Union’s treasurer Joshua Aroni reporting that the Union had an income of slightly over Sh215mm in the last financial year, a slight drop from the Sh227mn realized in the previous year.
At the same time, Aroni informed the AGM that the Union board made a decision to invest Sh45mn under a money market investment with the Britam Fund.
“The Board thought it wise to put the money there so that we can generate some funds in terms of interest that we could use to help run the Union in the short term,” Aroni explained.
At the same time, the treasurer said the Union has been forced to hugely scale down its operational costs through laying down of staff while some have been sent on compulsory leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
-Finances greatly hit
Aroni also warned that the Union’s finances will be greatly hit in this financial year as they will have no finances coming in due to the lack of activities. The Union’s biggest revenue cow, the Safari Sevens which is usually set for November looks unlikely at the moment.
“We need to look at ways in which we can have finances for this year and apart from petitioning the government, we need to engage new partnerships and also the existing ones in order to get revenue,” Aroni said.
Meanwhile, the Union has retained PKF as its auditors for the next financial year, but members asked the Union to bargain for a cheaper rate due to the financial situation.
“The volume of work will also be reduced because there haven’t been much activity so it will only be prudent for them to look at the cost of their work,” Nondies chair Auka Gacheo stated.