By James Bakama
UGANDA'S Athletics Federation is one of those bodies feeling the pinch of inadequate funding. Despite support from its parent body IAAF, President Yoweri Museveni and telecommunication company MTN, UAF still can’t fully cover its sh970m annual budget.
“It is indeed a challenge. We had a shortfall of sh500m this year,” said UAF head Domenic Otuchet adding that as a result they can’t exhaustively carry out grassroots development program.
All that UAF can this year show in support from National Council of Sports is sh5.2m. “But that is still something because there are years when we have got nothing,” noted Otuchet.
The NCS funding was this time for Uganda’s team for the World Championships in Moscow. Despite the minimal investment, UAF still managed to produce a champion in marathon runner Stephen Kiprotich.
You would have expected UAF’s financial woes to have greatly reduced after the presidential offer of a sh350m annual grant. Accessing the money has however not been easy.
What would have been as the initial release, came with only sh21m. There could however be reason for UAF to start toasting following the president’s promise to shift this vote from the Education and Sports Ministry to State House.
Matters have however this season not been helped by withdrawal of the federation’s kit sponsor PUMA.
The international kit company was before withdrawing from its partnership with Uganda not only fully dressing the national team, but also providing $30,000 (sh77.4m) to the federation.
“This money used to help a lot in sending a team to the World Cross-country,” explained Otuchet.
A total of sh250m of MTN’s sponsorship covers the MTN marathon. The company also offers sh160m towards regional competitions and sh30 for the athlete of the year award.
Besides tickets to some competitions, IAAF support also comes in form $15,000 (sh38m) for the local federation’s administration for a year.
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