Rugby Africa (RA) has called off this year’s Gold Cup tournament owing to financial constraints.
A statement from RA revealed that they have cancelled the tournament after the premature termination of RA and Kwese Sports contract which has left a huge gap in the 2019 budget.
However, the statement indicated that RA will hold the Olympic qualifiers for men and women for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as well as the first African qualifier tournament for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
RA also put off the 2019 Silver Cup before indicating that they are currently working in conjunction with World Rugby to come up with other formats of 15-a-side competitions which will be financially viable in 2019 and won’t jeopardise the future of Rugby Africa’s competitions.
At the same time, RA disclosed that they are working on a new Rugby World Cup qualifier model which needs to be sustainable, inclusive and attractive.
“Unions will be consulted in this process with an aim to release the final fixtures for 2020 in October 2019,” RA said in a statement.
“Rugby Africa’s EXCO in collaboration with Steph Nel – Rugby Service Manager Africa for World Rugby – have considered many different approaches and although it was a hard call to make, we felt that this was the only viable option. We do look forward to working with you on an exciting project for 2020,’ added the statement.
RA said they will inform its members about other possible options for men’s 15s competition this year as well as the final dates and venues for the Olympic qualifiers.
Namibia retained the Gold Cup for the fifth consecutive time last year where Kenya finished second in the event that doubled up as a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.