By Immanuel Ben Misagga
Back in 2021, Fufa president Moses Magogo commenced on the task to revamp the archaic sports laws by seeking leave from parliament to draft a private member’s bill. It was a commendable move but in the process, he soiled it by not involving other sports stakeholders in the drafting of the bill.
It was not until he tabled it that parliament sought fresh ideas and whereas there were some back-and-forth deliberations, the timeframe was too short. Nonetheless, President Museveni finally assented to the eagerly-awaited National Sports Act in August, 2023.
I have my reservations with the Act such as its handling of fraud, but I expected a flurry of activity to enlighten the sports fraternity about the Act and how it is going to transform Ugandan sport. It is now three months down the road but there is hardly anything tangible to show the impact of the Act.
Under the new Sports Act, the National Council of Sports (NCS) is practically the lead entity in regulation and guidance about sports but, unfortunately, it remains silent. For instance, I would wish to know whether all sports federations have registered with NCS as a body corporate as mandated by the new law.
Unfortunately, NCS has never seemed to be interested in the new sports law. It was always a Magogo and Fufa project and that perhaps explains why the council is adamant to implement the rules and regulations of the Act.
In the three months, I have not heard about a single workshop by NCS to enlighten the sports fraternity about the Act and how it will impact on the administration of sports. Technically, even the NCS board is supposed to have been disbanded already because under the new law, the composition of the board should have representation from the Education ministry, regions, athletes and the private sector, among others.
What’s even more infuriating is that there seems to be no roadmap at all from NCS to regularize the Act.
Meanwhile, I cannot spare Fufa because it was the architect of the law. Every now and then, Fufa holds workshops, seminars and clinics to ‘educate’ stakeholders on the legal and technical framework on which football runs. In fact, nearly 40 per cent of Fufa’s Shs 40bn annual budget is spent on ‘capacity building.’
We all know, of course, that there is little to learn in those workshops and that there merely conduits to siphon funds and buy loyalty.
Having said that, it shocks me that Magogo has only made one address since the enactment of the law. Even then, he only addressed the top-level administration bit in order to front his interests yet the millions of Ugandans that are directly and indirectly involved in football would benefit if Fufa dissected the new law for them to understand.
The Uganda Premier League (UPL) board is also not immune to the blanket situation.
By now, the board would have addressed to what extent does the new law protects and promotes players and club interests? Issues like broadcasting right, sponsorships, player sales, or even merchandise sales are protected by sports law the world over. So, how can players and clubs tap into the new law to make the most out of the current situation?
At the end of the day, ask yourself; how can a groundbreaking new sports law pass off like a mere amendment meant for a tiny fraction? The devil, as they say, is the detail in the minds and spirits of the framers.
The cue to this is that Magogo addressed every administration issue but left grey areas around three most important issues; accountability, fraud-control and funding transparency.
The author is SC Villa President Emeritus.