24 January 2013

Uganda: Why Isn't Football Following the Rules?


Minister of Education and Sports Jessica Alupo has given January 31 as the deadline for the two leagues running football - the Fufa Super League (FSL) and the USL to reconcile their differences and merge into one league.

As all football lovers wait for the date anxiously, I will try to cast some light on the technicalities under which both leagues are operating which, if not rectified, run the risk of lowering the beautiful game's standards.

Once, Herman Wasswa was a contented player at SC Villa. Although he wasn't getting a lot of money (Shs 250,000 a month), at least he had a contract. Then came the Fufa Super League and USL fracas and Wasswa, together with a cohort of other players, broke away from Villa, led by Fred Muwema and joined a faction, SC Villa that plays in the FSL.

But now Wasswa has neither contract nor the financial benefits he used to enjoy. In fact, he has joined KCC FC for a reported Shs 15m. And he is not alone. At Express FC, a number of players, part of the championship winning side last season, are facing similar challenges.

And it is the same case in the USL. Over there, a number of players have no contracts. When the FSL was started, a number of players left the USL and the clubs didn't tie down most new players they got to any contracts. With no contracts and some players playing under pseudo-names, the level of competition in the USL is low, raising fears that the quality of the game is being undermined.

In fact, most USL clubs have failed to submit their full squad lists. In addition, players keep changing clubs or leagues as they deem fit - the transfer window has never been officially closed.

When it comes to referees, the USL is at fault. Last season, the USL was compelled to repeat some league matches for using referees that hadn't been appointed by Fufa. The case is still the same today, yet under the laws of football, all games played under such scenario aren't valid.

What's more, there haven't been any awards, yet the monthly football awards were the highlight of the league. In a press conference before the FSL kicked-off last September, Fufa said that a company registered as FSL had been incorporated. But no certificate of incorporation has been availed despite the fact that the name FSL was booked on September 22, 2012.

It's understood that the only way FSL can take shape is if all football clubs (members) that formed the USL withdraw their membership and shares and it winds up.

Until that's done, they can't form the FSL, which implies that the FSL is an illegal entity - especially if they have not fulfilled the process of incorporation as the new football dispensation of professionalism stipulates. In addition Vipers FC is also not registered at the registrar of companies like we were earlier told.

What this means is that unless something is done, the beautiful game in Uganda will be irreparably damaged. With two leagues, a variety of club factions and a fan base that is divided, one only prays for a miracle.

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