Blow to Impala as their appeal against relegation dismissed

KCB scrum-half Michael Wanjala charges past Impala's defence

KCB scrum-half Michael Wanjala charges past Impala's defence during their Enterprise Cup semi-final match played at Impala Club in Nairobi on April 2, 2022.


Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Impala and Kenya Harlequin ended the regular season with 17 points each, but the Saracens finished ahead on a better aggregate.
  • Quins finished 11th on -69 followed by Nondies in last position with 16 points.
  • Ideally, Quins and Nondescripts would have been relegated following the conclusion of the regular league that involved 12 teams.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Appeals Committee has upheld the union’s decision to relegate 10-time Kenya Cup champions Impala Saracens from the top-flight league.

Impala Saracens had appealed against the ruling by the union to relegate them despite having finished 10th in the 2021/2022 Kenya Cup that ended on March 12.

Impala and Kenya Harlequin ended the regular season with 17 points each, but the Saracens finished ahead on a better aggregate.

Quins finished 11th on -69 followed by Nondies in last position with 16 points.

Ideally, Quins and Nondescripts would have been relegated following the conclusion of the regular league that involved 12 teams.

However, owing to a shortened season due to Covid-19, the union came up with some rules where all the clubs signed.

In this case, instead of going by how the teams finished the regular season with Impala ahead of Quins on better aggregate after the two sides tied on points, the union opted to go by head-to-head record.

That saw Quins, who beat Impala 29-20 during the regular 2021/2022 season on November 27, get the advantage to stay in the top flight league at the expense of Impala.

That is what made Impala to appeal stating that the rules were ambiguous.

Upon hearing the parties involved, the Appeals Committee chaired by Edward Rombo determined that Impala's appeal had no merit henceforth dismissed.

The committee detailed that the Kenya Cup competition for the 2021-22 season was staged with a new 2021 Competition Manual which all the parties agreed to adhere to.

“The league final standings showed that Kenya Harlequin and Impala tied with equal points and as a result there was a need to determine which of the two clubs stood above the other as per the applicable rules.

“KRU relied on the Competitions Manual 2021 to decide that Harlequins had a superior standing using the Head to Head criteria,” noted the ruling issue on June 3, this year.

The ruling seen by Nation Sport noted that there had been several meetings with teams and at no point did Impala raise any concerns, only raising the issue after the conclusion of the competition.

“All teams participated knowing the rules at the beginning hence it would not do justice for parties to agree to be bound by rules at the onset of the competition and then try and press for different rules at the conclusion of the competition,” stated the ruling in part.

The ruling noted that it would be a clear case of the proverbial “shifting of goalposts” and not an act of good faith.

"They (Impala) were aware of the extraordinary circumstances and conditions but still agreed to play. It would be absurd and manifestly unjust if we were to hold that the competition was invalid at the end of it," explained ruling.

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