By Moses Muhangi
President Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF)
I would like to explain why when we are complaining about the misallocation of national sports funds, we inevitably mention the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA).
First of all the Law provides for plaintiff versus respondent and in some cases you have more than one respondents, 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 26.6bn shillings in the financial year 2019/20?
Because the sports are public good , the govt supports them so that they can get the basics such as nurturing talent, organising competitions, establishing noticeable addresses, establishing basic functioning administrative structures,etc etc.
With this basic support from government and once utilised properly then the federation would develop capacity to tap into private sector funding. The best way to look at it is a sick person 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 sponsorships.
What’s the problem with the government funds as approved through the budget 2019?
Lack of funding policy at National Council of Sports (NCS) level
In the beginning and in the corridors the following arguments were made in as to why some federations get more than the other;
– Popularity of the support
This was majorly fronted by the football colleagues. Their argument was that since their games attract so many fans, had tremendous impact on so many youths, they needed more funding!
This was watered down when boxing started holding its championship in football stadiums and were always full to capacity and not for just a single day but for a whopping 8 days in a row.
We achieved this Kalerwe 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 inadequate funds . I believe any sport if funded be it netball, swimming, ludo etc etc that sport can attract a huge fanbase… that’s why you see in countries like USA every sport has a huge fanbase
– Sports excellence
Another argument to determine how funds were being allocated to various federations was on account of sports excellence. This is where it makes little sense.
Although nearly 70% of the funding went to FUFA, their best performance was to qualify from group stages of Africa Cup of Nations and only to lose before reaching the quarterfinals.
Ladies and gentlemen, sports excellence does not mean qualifying from group stage.
Sports excellence means competing in regional games, continental games and world games and subsequently coming back with either trophies, cups, or medals. That is sports excellence.
Unfortunately for FUFA, since it was established as a sports federation, it has never won either a continental or world championship save for jubilation after qualifying from group stages.
Now other sports disciplines like boxing , athletics, basketball, and of late swimming have won medals at continental and world championships but still remain poorly or not funded sports.
-Priority versus non priority sports
This has also been an argument brought forward. The argument is that some sports have been highlighted as priority sports and others not. Ideally this means priority sports should receive more attention in terms of funding, accessibility to training facilities, more involvement in competitions both local and international.
BUT surprisingly a priority sport like boxing gets only 2% of the whole budget meant for sports. The priority sport of boxing does not have regular access to the national gym for training, when competitions are due the full teams are left behind and quarter teams are taken.. so one wonders what does being a priority sport mean?
In the last financial year, 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 10 billion shillings went to FUFA and approx. 2 billion shillings to netball this was for 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 netball world cup and African cup of nations this year?
As if getting the lion’s share of our national sports budget was not enough, FUFA resorted to lobbying. They say they are the masters of lobbying, they lobby from state house, from President Yoweri Museveni, from 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 breakdown in terms of structures or the extreme incompetence of National Council of Sports.
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 mandate of NCS is to create linkages between federations and the government!
Our job as federations is strictly to operate with government through NCS.
This means we submit our requests, requirements, challenges to NCS and subsequently NCS forwards to government and is a similar way that’s how government communicates back to us as federations.
If we are to go by the lobbying argument as is done by FUFA, then there won’t be any further relevance of NCS and we as federations will be queuing up at parliament, finance, state house etc etc to lobby for government funds.
Perhaps it is because we have respected the functionality of these established structures like the NCS that we getting peanuts or none as sports federations!
So ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, the reason we talk about about FUFA in our struggles in as far as allocation of government funds meant for all sports is concerned is because FUFA is the highest beneficiary of the injustice!
I remain yours truly