I have always talked about FUFA whenever I talk about unjust allocation of government sports funds. There have been so many questions than answers from my reference to FUFA but this is why.
First of all, the Law provides for plaintiff versus Respondent and in some cases you have more than one respondent. For example, if Hassan stole Richard’s phone and gave it to Juma, that means Juma becomes the beneficiary of the root or theft; therefore this will call Richard as plaintiff versus Hassan as 1st respondent and Juma as 2nd respondent.
So, in our struggle to make case of the unjustified allocation of government funds across various federations, the body that allocates the funds becomes the 1st respondent and the beneficiaries like FUFA become the 2nd and so on respondents.
Why does government fund sports to now a tune of Shs26.6bn in the financial year 2019/20? Because sports are a public good, the government supports them so that they can get the basics such as nurturing talent, organising competitions, establishing noticeable addresses, establishing basic functioning administrative structures etc.
With this basic support from government and once utilised properly, then the federation would develop capacity to tap into private sector funding. Best way to look at it is a sick person that needs blood to gain energy to move to the next level.
Likewise, the federations require this government funds to develop the required capacity to tap or attract private sector funding or sponsorship.
What is the problem with government funds approved through the budget 2019? Lack of funding policy at the National Council of sports (NCS) that is known and agreeable to all federations brings the following arguments in as to why some federations get more than the other.
Popularity of the sport
This was majorly fronted by the football colleagues. Their argument was that since their games attract so many fans, they impact on so many youths hence they needed more funding! This was watered down when boxing started holding its championship in football stadiums which were always full to capacity and not for just a single day, but for a whooping eight days in a row. We achieved this at Katwe playground, Bwaise playground and latest being Kamwokya police playground. We could do this in any part of the country but the challenge has always been our in adequate funds. I believe that if any sport funded be it netball, swimming, Ludo etc, that sport can attract a huge fanbase and that is why you see in countries like USA, every sport has a huge fan base.
Another argument to determine how funds were being allocated to various federations was on account of sports excellence.
Surprisingly much as almost 70 percent of the budget goes to FUFA, their best level of sports excellence was to qualify from group stages of Africa cup of nations (Afcon) and only to lose before reaching the quarterfinals.
Ladies and gentlemen, sports excellence does not mean qualifying from group stage…No No No. Sports excellence means competing in regional games, continental games, world games and subsequently coming back with either trophies or medals.
That is sports excellence; unfortunately for FUFA since it was established as a sports Federation, it has never won neither a continental or world championship save for jubilation after qualifying from group stages.
Whereas sports like boxing, athletics, basketball and of late swimming have won medals at continental and world championships, they still remain the poorly or not funded sports Federations by the government of Uganda.
After our friends in FUFA finding a hard time to justify the kind of financial support they get from the sports budget, they resorted to LOBBYING topic. They say that they are the masters of lobbying; they lobby from State House, from President M7 as an individual, from the Parliament and the Ministry of education and sports. That’s why they get more money than the rest! This is a total manifestation of either government break down in terms of structures or the extreme incompetence of national council of sports. The federations are not supposed to communicate directly with the ministries or any other government entity. Otherwise the establishment of the body called NCS would have been a waste of time. The job of NCS is to create linkages between Federations and the government! Our job as federations is strictly to operate with government through NCS. Meaning we submit our requests, requirements and, challenges to NCS and subsequently NCS forwards them to government and in a similar way, that’s how government communicates back to us as federations. If we are to go by the lobbying argument as done by FUFA, then there won’t be any further relevance of NCS and we, as federations, will be queuing up at parliament, finance ministry, State House to lobby for government funds because we have respected the functionality of these established structures like the NCS. This maybe the reason we are getting peanuts or none as sports federations
After our colleagues from FUFA and NETBALL further finding it impossible to justify their funding, another argument came up. This was in the last financial year and the argument was that we need more money because netball has qualified for netball world cup and football has qualified for the African cup of nations. So the 10bn went to Fufa and about Shs2bn to netball in the financial year 2018/19. Surprisingly even in the financial year 2019/20, the same amounts of money are still being given to these federations and one might wonder if we still have these federations going to compete in the net ball world cup and African cup of nations this year!
Priority versus non priority sports
This has also been an argument brought forward that some sports have been highlighted as priority sports and others not. That meant that the priority sports would receive more attention in terms of funding, accessibility to training facilities, more involvement in competitions both local and international among others. Surprisingly, a priority sport like boxing gets only 2% of the whole budget meant for sports. The priority sport of boxing has no regular access to the national gym for training and when competitions are due; the full team is not taken. So one wonders what does being a priority sport mean! So, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, the reason we talk about FUFA in our struggles in as far as allocation of government funds meant for all sports is concerned, it’s because FUFA is the highest beneficiary of this injustice!
I remain yours truly
President UBF and AIBA ITO