The Oxford English Dictionary defines Sport as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for leisure, entertainment, recreation etc.
By this definition, any two persons that argue over who is faster may decide to compete and this is a Sport.
It is therefore implicative that no one owns sports but the two people who come together to compete own their own race and may decide to set regulations of their competition. As long as their regulations do not infringe on rights of other people and do not conflict with the laws of the sovereign, no one outside their arrangement may dictate on those regulations.
Genesis of Association Football
Unlike other sports, Football is played between teams. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the football teams that had evolved decided to form and belong to associations. For the wider belonging and globalization, associations federated into federations, and confederations on geographical basis. The associations, confederations and federations required governance structures and controls and desired to regulate the sport. This gave birth to statutes and regulations of these bodies.
What is association football?
Association football is the sport of football played by members of the various football associations, confederations and federations. It is voluntary to belong to association football but once you opt to belong, you can only remain a member by compliance to the statutes and regulations.
Association football is a private business selling goods and services consumed by the public. Although the general public enjoys football, association football is private and that is why it is controlled by private people in the whole world and not governments or United Nations.
For example the corporate league is not part of association football and cannot be controlled by FUFA however when they make sporting contact with teams and competitions under association football, they are required to declare and sign to be bound by the statutes and regulations. FUFA, CAF or FIFA have no mandate to regulate non-association football.
The various football associations in Uganda came together to form FUFA and consequently they are the owners of FUFA. These associations determine the destiny of FUFA in terms of electing the leadership, creating and amending their own statutes, confirming on their finances through appointing independent public auditors. It is not different from say MTN (U) Ltd that is owned by a few people but providing a public good. Therefore having an MTN SIM card does not confer upon you the right to determine leadership at MTN nor to check the finances or to set internal rules. It is the very reason why the FUFA President can only be elected by the owners and not the entire public like some people have asked. The fans are consumers of football products and services who must enjoy a 5-star customer care
Company Law vs. Association football Rules?
FUFA the association could hitherto not sign legally binding contracts, could not own assets, could not borrow money, could not sue or be sued. However, in order to exist in the legal regime of Uganda, FUFA the association, owns a company called FUFA Ltd. This is the trading arm of FUFA that can transact as a legal person.
The Uganda Super League Limited (USLL) as a body has a discretion to belong or not to belong to FUFA. If they wish to be part of association football, they have to abide by the rules that include FUFA, CAF and FIFA Statutes, Regulations, Decisions and Directives or they may decide not to belong to association football and they are not bound by the compliance to the rules. It is as a simple as that. Furthermore, FUFA can only continue being a member of FIFA (again this is optional for FUFA to belong or not to) if it’s constituent Members comply with Association Football Rules
In the recent times, there has been a deliberate confusion presented by a section of people using the company law to circumvent the association football rules. USLL is a company limited and bound by the company law in Uganda but for continued belonging to association football family, they are bound by association football rules for as long as the association football rules do not require USLL to contravene the laws of Uganda.
The English Premier League Model
The English Premier League is the foreign league that most Ugandans follow and considering the fact that may be apart from the dots and crosses, there is everything similar between the Uganda and England/Wales Law thanks to the British colonization of Uganda. Our adoption of English Premier League model in creation of the USL was just perfect.
The Relationship between the English Premier League and the FA is perfect and properly documented. When the premier league plc MEMARTS were referenced, Mr. Kabenge usurped the process and decided to delete articles and clauses that empowered the FA in the setup but since he did it not find and replace using a computer command, the USLL MAMARTS of his own version (there are like 3 of them) still contains clauses that FUFA has demanded that he follows to his dismay.
In the English Premier League, there are no referees being appointed off the street, there are no club officials in the Premier League Board, there are no relegated teams being retained (this is the very reason FIFA banned Nigeria FA recently), there are no insubordination cases and no war generals of the Premier League. It is a huge commercial and sporting success. We all watch the Premier League and you have heard of cases of Evra and Suarez being handled by the FA Disciplinary setup and not the Premier League making any comment meanwhile USLL is busy exchanging communications with FUFA over a club player who absconded from the National Team
We should put the sport ahead of our personal battles and egos, abandon the art of confusing the public, stop hiring the media to spin facts and hide dirt. It is like a Jumbo jet taking off with a quarter tank of fuel across the Pacific. However beautiful the passengers are and sweet the coffee served is, it will crash midair irrespective of who the pilots are. USLL in the current modus operandi of insubordination to FUFA, CAF and FIFA (Association Football), defining football using company law approach, refusing to embrace the entirity of the English Premier League Model, using USLL as a football politics fighting platform and a PR platform for officials personal tribulations and businesses instead of serving the customer (the ordinary football fan), is headed no where just like one to power infinity (1∞)
About the Author: Magogo is the FUFA president, CAF Executive Committee Member, Head of the Futsal and Beach Soccer Committee – CAF, and a FIFA certified Administration Instructor.
Besides Football, he is a professional Engineer who previously worked with the African Development Bank in Kampala City.