EXCLUSIVE: World Lacrosse suspends Uganda for 2 years, what happens next

EXCLUSIVE: World Lacrosse suspends Uganda for 2 years, what happens next

By Emmanuel Sekago

Uganda has been suspended by the world Lacrosse  governing body,WL, owing to issues of governance, discipline of athletes disappearance during international games.

It is the first time World Lacrosse has suspended Uganda from all its sanctioned competitions with effect from September 1st 2023.

Benard Otim vanished at the San Diego championship.

It should be noted that five Uganda lacrosse players who were part of the 26-man contingent, including three technical staff for the championships held from June 21st to July 1st in San Diego, USA varnished. These included  the captain Keith Lubangakene, Allan Amone, Benard Otim, Innocent Anyala, and Solomon Adiyo were not found at the team’s hotel when they were preparing to leave the country.

Uganda finished 30th in the tournament in a disappointing run as they failed to get a single victory despite a spirited fight and was headed by Uganda representative, also an employee of National Council of Sports, but up now no official report was presented, not even a single word from National council of sports.

According to the letter seen by wallnetnews dated  October 22nd 2023 by World Lacrosse Appeals Tribunal the Outcome for the Uganda Lacrosse Association, “On September 1st 2023, The Uganda Lacrosse Association (ULA), in accordance with Articles 1.5.5 and 1.5.6 of the World Lacrosse (WL) Disciplinary policy, was suspended by the WL Board of Directors from World Lacrosse and African Association of Lacrosse for two years with the following provision,” reads ….

Allan Amone went missing in USA.

1. Pathway for removal of the suspension after one year: The World Lacrosse Chief Operating Officer and Director of Sport to work with the ULA Executive Committee to ensure the ULA has in place and demonstrates progress toward good governance principles, safe sport regulations and appropriate financial controls, under leadership that is acceptable to World Lacrosse.

2. Ugandan athletes who meet World Lacrosse eligibility requirements can continue to participate in World Lacrosse and African Association of Lacrosse events under a neutral flag, with selection and team management.

One needs to understand that the World Lacrosse Appeals Tribunal was established under 1.5.8 of the Disciplinary Policy with the following membership: Mark Coups (Chair), Howard Borkan, Calbert Hutchinson, Jakob Grossehagenbrock and Yaa Moppong.

The Appeals Tribunal met on the 7th of October with all members present. Kim Bartkowski attended the meeting as a non-voting secretary and Robert McCutchan attended on behalf of WL. The ULA president Leonard Lubambula who was invited to the meeting did not attend.

The meeting established protocols for the tribunal in accordance with 1.5.8 and relevant documentation was shared by WL. The Tribunal decided under article 1.5.9.4, that due to the serious nature of suspending a WL member, to adjourn and reconvene with the ULA in attendance.

The Appeals Tribunal reconvened the 7th of October meeting on 22nd of October with all members present. Jim Scherr attended on behalf of WL. President Leonard Lubambula and General Secretary Douglas Nyakaana attended on behalf of the ULA. The Tribunal heard testimony from the ULA and posed relevant questions. The Tribunal heard a summary from Jim Scherr and posed relevant questions.

The Appeals Tribunal Outcome Under 1.5.9.5 the Appeals Tribunal found the decision of the board to be proved and decided the following; The Uganda Lacrosse Association (ULA), in accordance with Articles 1.5.5 and 1.5.6 of the World Lacrosse (WL) Disciplinary policy,  suspended from World Lacrosse and African Association of Lacrosse for ONE year with a subsequent ONE year probationary period. Under 1.5.7.4 the suspension of the Uganda Lacrosse Association takes effect from 1st of September 2023 Until 31st August 2024.

Uganda Lacrosse Association  during suspension is  its executive is required to work with the World Lacrosse Chief Operating Officer and Director of Sport to ensure the ULA has in place and demonstrates progress toward good governance principles, safe sport regulations and appropriate financial controls.

The ULA MUST present documentation to the World Lacrosse Board that demonstrates the following; how the issues leading to the suspension are being addressed, how progress towards good governance principles, safe sport regulations and appropriate financial controls are being agreed and embedded and the Tribunal expects the ULA to submit to the World Lacrosse Board an interim report by 31st of January 2024 and a full report by 30th of June 2024.

The specific structure and content of the report is to be suggested to the World Lacrosse Board by the World Lacrosse Chief Operating Officer and Director of Sport.

However, the  Tribunal reserves the right to revisit the ONE year probationary period if the above is not adhered to and consider lengthening the ONE year suspension period.

Also, Uganda Lacrosse association (ULA)  requirements during the probationary year MUST present documentation to the World Lacrosse Board that demonstrates the continued progress towards good governance principles, safe sport regulations and appropriate financial controls are being agreed and embedded.

The Tribunal expects the ULA to submit to the World Lacrosse Board an update report by 31st of December 2024 and a full report by 30th of June 2025. If this requirement is not adhered to then the World Lacrosse Board will have to  take further disciplinary action under 1.5.5.1.

The Appeals Tribunal noted that the impact on Ugandan Athletes, especially the Under 20 players, is highly regrettable and all must ensure that any negative impact is minimised for the future of Lacrosse especially the defection of multiple Ugandan Athletes during the 2023 WL Men’s World Championships and this will have effect on Ugandan Athletes ability to secure relevant visas in the future.

Meanwhile, With all this with Uganda lacrosse association issues, National council of sports has been quiet on it, there Certificate of Recognition was never revoked BUT rushed to revoke the Uganda netball federation Certificate of Recognition basing on governance issues and that alone the stakeholders in sports are asking questions on how National council of sports mode of work.

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