The StarTimes Uganda Premier League fixtures for the 2020/21 season are set to be released next week, Football256 has learnt.
The league was initially earmarked to start on October 17 but was postponed by a month to November 17, before it was again postponed to December 3.
This website understands that a couple of clubs still faced challenges in the licensing process which held back the fixture release.
Kitara FC who secured promotion almost a month ago were yet to complete their licensing process and especially regards their home ground among other requirements. However, the club has progressed and has provided much of the requirements.
There continues to be discussions between clubs, the UPL secretariat and the Federation of Uganda Football Associations on how the league can restart amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
With strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place by the government on how sports can resume, the application of these procedures has caused huge question of discussion.
Three games a week schedule
Information privy to this website indicates that there will be a three game a week schedule for the league, with a couple of weekend games also lined up in order to make up for the lost time.
To allow space for the games to be broadcast live, the fixture will accommodate lunchtime kick-offs and evening games and Sunday morning games. There will not be night games in order not to violate the curfew.
The league which will start in December will run for about three weeks before it is called off to allow the Uganda Cranes CHAN team prepare for the tournament which will take place between January and February 2021.
The league will resume after CHAN and run uninterrupted until July 2021. There will be no break between the first and second round amidst a tight schedule which will also accommodate the Uganda Cup.
Clubs, FUFA yet to agree on COVID-19 testing
For any competition under FUFA to be held, all players and officials must be subject to COVID-19 testing, with players only allowed to participate in any competition only if they present valid results which were taken 72 hours before the game.
A COVID-19 test in Uganda ranges from UGX 80,000 – 240,000 per individual. The biggest cause of concern was how do clubs meet the costs for the tests.
In a recent meeting between clubs and FUFA, there was a huge debate on how testing would be handled.
FUFA argued that it would handle the testing of the players, though there were also proposals of individual clubs meeting their testing expenses.
It is understood that FUFA has been setting up a COVID-19 testing centre for the purpose of handling all testing.
The other issue of contention was how are the costs of testing met?
One preposition is that FUFA would meet the cost of testing players and officials, and FUFA will then deduct the expenses incurred for testing from the sponsorship package, though some clubs say they can handle their own expenses.