FUFA demotes Arua Hill to second division

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FUFA demotes Arua Hill to second division
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KAMPALA - A leopard never loses its spots, they say, but not when the leopard is from the hills of Arua. The one calling itself Kongolo has been starved long enough, lost its spots and, ultimately, the spot on the StarTimes Uganda Premier League.

The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) has saved Arua Hill any further spot-losses by demoting the West Nile-based club to the second division (FUFA Big League) for the upcoming 2024/2025 season.

This was confirmed in a statement released on Tuesday by the local football governing body.

“After thorough investigation, the FUFA Club Licensing Committee agreed with the decision taken by the First Instance Body and its ruling has therefore been upheld,” the statement said.

“Arua Hill is therefore advised by the FUFA Club Licensing Committee to prepare for the 2024/25 Betpawa Big League season (second division).”

The development follows a recent report by The FUFA Club Licensing Committee (The First Instance Body) which found the Arua-based club liable of violating its obligations related to financial liquidity.

FUFA had earlier withdrawn Arua Hill's licence and omitted the club from the second round - that opened last week - league fixtures.

Arua has been facing several financial woes and leadership wrangles. The club, previously owned by businessman Joel Aita, lost its footing after the man who once boasted he could buy English Premier League giants Chelsea instead pulled out of funding the Kongolo.

Mr Aita said running a football club in Uganda was a loss-making venture he could not continue with anymore.

By the end of the first round, the Kongolo, who were winless in the league and condemned to go down, had only picked five points from 15 games. The club infamously field just eight players in their 7-1 drubbing by Kitara in December.

Arua’s efforts to appeal against the decision were futile.

On Tuesday, FUFA upheld the decision earlier taken by the committee, and advised Arua Hill to prepare for next season’s Big League.

Arua Hill got promoted to the Ugandan Premier League in 2022 after topping their Elgon Group in the 2021 FUFA Big League.

However, in the past months, the club has faced a financial crisis which has seen it lose a number of its top players to rival clubs.

The situation worsened at the start of the season after the club failed to raise the required number of players for some football matches.

You recall in December, the club was condemned to a 7-1 beating at the hands of Kitara FC.

In the Uganda Premier League match played at Masindi Playgrounds, Arua had turned up with only eight players.

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