17 December 2012

Uganda: Minister Intervenes in Soccer Drama

Kampala, Uganda — The Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Jesca Alupo has intervened in the drama that has rocked domestic football for the better part of last year and most of 2012.

The drama (read standoff) is between the Uganda Super League (USL) and the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) over the rights to run domestic football in the country.

The Minister has ordered that Uganda should have one league by December 31, 2012 and that it should have sponsors with it. The statement means that FUFA and the USL have less than two weeks to sort out their impasse to ensure the smooth flow of Uganda's top tier league.

Currently, both the USL and FUFA are running parallel leagues with a number of teams registered for both leagues. The two leagues have been running concurrently since August when FUFA and USL agreed to disagree.

However, from the onset, FUFA issued a warning to all players playing in the rival league saying that they would not get a chance to play for the national team, a thing that sent panic into a number of players.

The sponsors, SuperSport and Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) under their flagship brand Bell Lager stuck to the USL despite numerous attempts by FUFA to lure them to the FUFA Super League.

FUFA's Publicist Rogers Mulindwa was at the beginning of the season so confident that he said, "SuperSport will not go to the wrong league. They are not dealing in cereals and I stand to be quoted, SuperSport will broadcast the FUFA league."

Pundits are therefore wondering which league is the wrong one since SuperSport and Bell Lager decided to stick to sponsoring the USL and not the FUFA Super League.

SuperSport had at one point become frustrated that it contemplated pulling out of Uganda because of interference where by some matches that had been played were declared illegal and invalid by the local soccer governing body and had to be replayed.

A statement from the USL last week however stated that live broadcasts woul d resume early next year.

The instructions from the Minister of Education and Sports is that all clubs in both FUFA Super League (FSL) and Uganda Super League Limited (USLL) are to send a representative in a final meeting where they will decide and vote on what league they should play in.

Sources who attended the meeting say that FUFA vice president Moses Magogo's desperate attempt to make a last ditch case for association football and argue out FIFA and the general assembly's position on this matter in August, fell on deaf ears.

Hon. Alupo reportedly shut him down with a parting shot " You man are so arrogant, who are you? Where do you come from?"

They were all reminded that it was government not the other way around that had called the meeting. If all goes well, FUFA and USL will end up working together after close to two years of bickering.

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