The newly proposed FUFA reforms have created serious debates on various platforms by different football stakeholders including players, coaches, administrators and pundits.
Over the weekend, FUFA took and extra mile to breakdown the details of the reform process through educational sessions and interactions with the public.
Here is the full interview held on FUFA TV where the CAF Executive Committee member Magogo defended the football governing body.
Interviewer: FUFA has come up with proposals for reforms in the various Competitions but this has caused discontent among the football fraternity. Do you have an idea to this uproar from the public?
Magogo: Every time when you need to succeed, you definitely need to change, unless you are satisfied with the state in which you are.
We expected the discontent. Every time we introduce changes in FUFA, we have always experienced this and there are a number of reasons.
We are in a generation where people don’t want to read and research but rather listen. So in the process people don’t analyse things scientifically. At FUFA, we analyse, tabulate, look at statistics and data in a more critical manner.
There are also populists and politicians who just oppose anything from FUFA. As an Institution, we can’t just say what people want to hear. We have a mandate to manage the game and therefore must say and do what leads us to our objectives and those of our members.
Interviewer: There is a lot of uproar about reducing the Uganda Premier League from 16 to 12 teams? Why are they complaining?
Magogo: FUFA is a private organisation that is owned by 34 members. 16 of the 34 members are Uganda Premier League clubs as of today. As FUFA, we have a vision of becoming the number one footballing nation in Africa on and off the field. For us to get there, we undertook a mission which is to develop, promote and protect the game for all.
For the positive administrative and sporting results Ugandan football has experienced under my administration, it is because FUFA has been implementing reforms in eight (8) key focus areas. Football touches people through Competitions and that’s why the Competitions reforms have largely been discussed in the public more than the other areas and we expected it. This is a great debate going on.
Interviewer: Why undertake reforms now. Which are these reforms?
Magogo: Our objective is reforming competitions. We want to categorise football in three types that are distinct yet complement each other. The first is youth football. The way football is approached at this level, its tactics and the strategy are totally different from the second type which is amateur football. The third type is professional football which is about money.
Interviewer: FUFA Reforms for Youth Football
Magogo: We want to give access to the young people wherever they are to play football and whatever interventions we are putting in these reforms are giving an opportunity to the young people. They may all not end up as professional footballers but they can be fans, coaches and Managing Directors of Companies that will give sponsorship to football in future.
Interviewer: FUFA reforms on Amateur Football
Magogo: Here, we simply want to involve the masses and make sure football is played in every corner of the country. Uganda has 134 political districts and therefore, we must have 134 District Football Associations. We will organise football at all levels to make sure that any good talent in any village in Uganda is given an opportunity.
Interviewer Isn’t reducing the teams to 12 going to reduce the number of players featuring in the Uganda Premier League?
Magogo: The suggestion is two leagues- Uganda Premier League and the Reserve league. Each of the 12 UPL club will have 35 playing staff, featuring in both leagues. Because there are players that are always on the fringes, some are returning from injuries and the young ones who command a slot in the first team, they will be able to continue playing football in this case.
So 35 players from 12 teams gives you a total of 420 players, which is more than the 336 players with 16 clubs in the Uganda Premier League currently. FUFA is looking at the 820 players from the UPL and FBL.
Interviewer: There is fear this will only play advantage to the teams in Kampala and Buganda regions.
Magogo: That’s another form of misinformation being traded by football politicians. For us as FUFA, we use statistics, we look at records, we don’t speculate. For example, we have done analysis for the past three seasons of the Uganda Premier League.
The statistics indicate that the 12 clubs that have finished below position 12 in the last 3 seasons, 9 are from Central (Kampala and Buganda) while only three are from upcountry. We know what happened to Nyamityobora FC and Paidha Black Angels FC. They had wrangles about administration and ownership. Same thing is happening with Tooro United FC. So qualification and playing in the league has nothing to do with the geographical location.
Interviewer: The big talk is that FUFA has abandoned the Jinja Declaration. What is the Jinja Declaration and is it still operational?
Magogo: Jinja Declaration was FUFA’s initiative. The FUFA Executive under the leadership of Dr. Lawrence Mulindwa as the President wrote to FIFA and asked them to come here because clubs were not understanding club licensing and professionalisation. It is like a communique after a workshop or convention but what is most important is that whatever you get from it, you come and put it in your statutes and rules.
As far as we are concerned, the Jinja Declaration was a 2010-2014 strategy. Therefore, it expired six years ago. How football was being looked at 10 year ago isn’t the same right now.
The second thing in the Jinja Declaration was reduction of clubs. That is one thing we have not completed because it said let’s reduce teams from 18-14 and that was ten years ago. Actually reducing the number of teams is what we are trying to do now in order to improve the quality.
The third thing is about statutes. We have worked on our statutes and those of the clubs. Things like finances, facilities, club offices, players, youth, marketing, communication and medical are what we have been looking at and you can look at this document and see.
We think the Jinja Declaration did its part and we are here partly because of some of the things listed therein. We can engage another gear to go forward.
Interviewer: The proposals if implemented will directly affect the players featuring in the domestic league. How will they benefit from this?
Magogo: We have a challenge that many players leave the Ugandan league, go as professionals, we take them to the Uganda Cranes, go and beat the biggest countries on the African continent.
They turn professional but come back immediately. What does that tell you? Have we prepared them well at club level for them to be able to sustain themselves as professionals? Have we given them competition week in week out that is demanded at the professional level?
So let’s give the reforms a chance, debate, discuss and bring out ideas that are going to shape the proposals for the development of football.