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FUFA President Magogo promises to front Sports agenda in 11th Parliament

Magogo was voted MP for Budiope East to the 11th Parliament

The FUFA President insists must be taken to Parliament

Salient areas that need Government intervention to kick-start the professional sports sector are; Funding, Legislation, Infrastructure and Policies.

The Sports industry will grow only if there is investment and operational Government Policies.

FUFA President, Eng. Moses Magogo

Time for lamenting is over. We have now accessed the floor of Parliament. We shall not send someone to speak for us. We shall speak for ourselves.

FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo has for long advocated for fundamental changes in the Sports Sector in Uganda, highlighting a number of challenges it faces and finding solutions.

Bearing in mind that over 70% of Uganda’s population is below the age of 30 years, the country faces a challenge of unemployment and if solutions to this problem aren’t devised, a ticking time bomb awaits.

The Sports Economics

The Global Sports Economy is about 700 Billion USD which is Uganda’s annual budget for over 100 years that we are not partaking. One uneducated Ugandan player in the English Premier League would pay over 100 University Professors.

That is the power of talent in the modern world economics.

Uganda has produced the World’s best self-made athletes out of no scientific methods of identification, development, preparation and presentation. This country is indeed endowed with abnormal raw sports talent. This is indeed our competitive advantage.

Considering that the annual average earning of a footballer in the English Premier League is about 3.6m USD, and yet the Uganda Cranes has beaten countries with 100 top professional footballers in Europe, it is not farfetched for Uganda to export 50 football players to the top 5 leagues which would translate into over 200m USD per annum.

Uganda Cranes team that won the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in 2019

In the last 40 years, both China and India have moved from outside the top 20 to the top 5 world economies by maximising their competitive advantage of the largest labour forces. Japan has used technology since the turn of the World War II.

Uganda’s competitive advantage is not going to be technology but export of sports labour and sports tourism.

In addition, a large tax base from sporting goods, works and services will be created and so is the ability to buy by the persons involved in the sector. The ticking time-bomb of the unemployed youth will equally be solved once and for all.

This among many reasons prompted the FUFA President Magogo to seek an elective position. He was recently voted Member of Parliament for Budiope East Constituency in Buyende District.

In his weekly show on 102.1 FUFA fm dubbed ‘Tutegeere Omupiira’ that returned to the airwaves after a long break, Mr. Magogo congratulated sports administrators that attained elective positions and promised to front sports in Parliament.

‘I first of all want to thank the Almighty Allah for guiding us to victory in the just concluded elections. I want to congratulate all leaders from the sports sector that successfully went through at all levels. This has been our dream as the sports sector to discuss our plight where it matters’ he said in his opening remarks.

Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga with FUFA officials at the August House

In the past, the game has had its own challenges that needed FUFA and its Members to solve. These included governance, management and technical challenges but have been largely solved. However, in order to engage the next gear, there are challenges faced by the game that football itself cannot address but the State.

‘Many people in the past have used the power of football to be elected into offices but have not used these vital offices to serve the beautiful game. This time it is going to be different. To some of us football is not just a game but a way of life’ stressed the newly elected Legislator.

Prioritisation

The priority of time, human and financial resources allocation is determined by statistics and mind-set (perception).

On the priority table for allocation for Uganda, there are neither sports statistics nor correct perception in consideration for sports which is a multi-sector activity encompassing Health, Education, Social Development, Tourism and Trade. The statistics do not reflect the contribution by sport.

For example, whereas the Education Sector took about 10.5% of the National budget for 2019/20 appropriation, sports sub-sector was allocated about 1.2% of the sector budget which 0.13% of the National Budget.

Ten (10) Government Universities shared 420bn UGX with Busitema University alone allocated twice the amount given to 52 Sports Federations serving 70% of the country’s population.

In the social development Sector, 38bn UGX allocated to the promotion of descent employment cannot find its way to support the employment that the sports sub-sector provides to persons without any form of education.

This bottom National priority order of sports is as informed by the Ugandan mind-set of defining sport as being good for the body and a recreational activity. With this, we miss or deny the fact that it is a big-time economic game changer.

We have seen how new industries have emerged in Uganda to support the traditional economic activities of agriculture and hunting.

The Oil & Gas, Transport, ICT, Manufacturing, Tourism etc have been supported by Government to take-off with proper Laws, Trained Human Resource, Policies, Budget Support, Backbone Infrastructure, Tax Holiday Incentives etc.

The main reason for the Government intervention has been justified as creation of employment for many youths and enlarging the future tax-base. Unfortunately, as a country we do not look at sports as an economic activity but leisure.

Elsewhere, take for 2016/2017 Financial Year, only the English Premier League Clubs directly paid equivalent to 16.6tn Uganda Shillings (over 86% of the Uganda National budget in the same year) in taxes to the British Government.

In the same year, top flight football in the UK paid equivalent to 40.2tn Uganda Shillings (More than twice the Uganda National budget in the same year) in taxes to the British Government.

The FUFA President insists that time for lamenting is over and indicates further that the salient areas of intervention by the Uganda Government to kick-start the professional sports sector are; Funding, Legislation, Infrastructure and Policies.

Funding

He further asserts that Government should finance ALL Teams and Athletes representing Uganda in international competitions.

A National athlete should be identified at the right age from the remotest village, nurtured and developed using the right technical personnel, techniques and equipment. The athlete should be prepared and presented for competitions and should be handsomely rewarded where international excellence for our country is achieved.

There should be well-known documented Government processes and procedures on the funding of identification, development, preparation, presentation and reward of national athletes.

Douala, Cameroon. 26 Jan 2021. Uganda v Morocco, Group C, CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN) Tournament 2021. Stade de la Réunification, Bepanda. Uganda and Morocco met in the third and final set of Group C games. Credit: XtraTimeSports (Darren McKinstry)

Infrastructure

Just like ICT, Tourism, Oil & Gas, Social, the Professional Sports Sector requires deliberate investment in infrastructure. It is ironical that during the era of amateur sport, Uganda had better infrastructure than now? What happened to Nakivubo, Lugogo, Bugembe, Kakyeka, Barifa, Mbale, and the over 50 Boma Grounds across the country? Namboole Stadium, the only facility in Uganda that can host 50,000 persons is not only out of use to sports activities but in a dire state unacceptable for host international sports.

UEFA Expert Philip Fifield examining Manela National Stadium Namboole

‘We have a challenge of lack of sports infrastructure in this country. The few that we have are in a dire state. So as leaders, we must present this to Parliament. In recent times, the Government has commissioned new markets almost every city and main town. Why can’t there be commissioning of Stadiums?’ asked Magogo.

Sometimes we actually punch above our weight, competing with countries that are miles ahead of us in infrastructural development yet in the circumstances we operate, we go out and win’ added Magogo.

FIFA, CAF and members of federations in a group photo during the opening ceremony of CAF Club Licensing workshop at Sheraton in 2019

Legislation:

Eng. Magogo has for long highlighted that the 1964 Sports Act is archaic, obsolete and dangerous.  It needs to be replaced urgently with a law that addresses modern day sports challenges.

The current law places Sport in the Education Sector which is the remotest form of modern sport. The new law should define and regulate sports as a multi-sector activity thus;

  1. Body Exercise Form; It is the non-competitive sports activity that is encouraged by the scientists for the proper growth and healthy maintenance of the human body. It is called ‘doilo’. This form of sport is the one covered under physical education in schools and consequently belonging to the Education and Health Sector.

It is therefore important these two particular sectors should regulate and invest in this form of sport for the objectives listed herein. Children in school who undertake sport even make better academic products while a population that exercises reduces on the national healthy expenditure and is more productive for the economy.

  • Amateur Form; This competitive form of sport that is performed for entertainment and recreational purposes. It is basically built on volunteerism, pride, passion and philanthropy. The participants, organisers and funders do not undertake any activity for the benefit of economic benefit.

It provides a form of mass involvement and entertainment. It is such a good social tool for mobilisation and community cohesion. There is no better way of engaging the youths who more than 70% of the population of Uganda than providing an environment of amateur sport. The Social Sector should heavily invest in Amateur Sport as it is a springboard to the Professional Form.

  • Professional Form; It is a competitive form of sport that is performed as an economic activity. The performers, organisers and investors basically undertake activities for an economic benefit. It is a fulltime employment platform and a Tax Base. Until about 30 years ago, the entire world was consuming only amateur sport. The Trade Sector should invest heavily in order to harvest the numerous advantages.

Modern sport has challenges that require proper legislation to protect and enhance the business aspect of the industry. Things to do with commercial rights protection, match fixing, betting, doping, corruption and bribery etc have not been exactly and specifically addressed by the current entire Ugandan law.

Policies

The FUFA President indicates that for the Sports industry to grow there must be investment and operation government policies put in place by Government.

To protect textile manufacturers in Uganda, Government imposes a tax on imported textile. For sports, we directly compete with foreign sports with no protection measures put in place.

Pay TVs, Telecoms and betting companies collect a lot of money directly from the limping Uganda sports economy but there are no policies to make sure they reinvest in local Sports despite their huge marketing budgets expended elsewhere.

Where is the 70% local content Government policy on the television aggregators for sports? How can UBC being run on the tax payer’s money be showing the English Premier League but can not invest in local sport?

Why can’t the PPDA Act require any supplier to a public organization financed from the consolidated fund to present a certificate of financing local sports issued by the relevant government of authorities of Sport?

Why are tax holidays and land for development given to investors in the manufacturing sector but not sports?

Too many questions and not many answers.

Conclusion

Time for lamenting is over. We have now accessed the floor of Parliament. We shall not send someone to speak for us, we shall speak for ourselves

“I have already written the Private Member’s Bill for Sports and it will be my first intervention as soon as the 11th Parliament opens. We are creating the sports caucus in the 11th Parliament and we shall use all means to lobby and convince the rest of the house. Even if it means undressing, we shall, but the time is now not tomorrow’ concluded Magogo.

It is Our Game, It is Our Country.

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