By Norman Katende
FUFA has threatened to shift all the 2015 AFCON qualifiers to foreign ground, according to a letter written to the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.
The letter dated April 30 is requesting Mbabazi’s urgent intervention in the soccer federation wrangles with Namboole over unpaid dues, and failure to reach a compromise on the percentage that the stadium is expected to get.
FUFA president Moses Magogo suggests that the national team home games be hosted in neighbouring Nairobi or Kigali because Namboole Stadium charges and VAT are too high and are not worthwhile for FUFA to have the national team play in Uganda. Magogo is also a member of the board of Mandela National Stadium Limited (MNSL).
The 4-page letter copied to the President and Vice President of Uganda, education and sports minister, state sports minister and permanent secretary, FIFA and CAF, Magogo says that it was unfair for Namboole to charge 15% as recommended by then permanent secretary Xavier Lubanga, after the federation called on him to intervene.
The guidelines came into effect after FUFA appealed to the ministry for being overcharged.
“Considering that we have less than 2 weeks to the AFCON 2015 qualifiers as earlier enumerated and having failed to resolve this (difference) between MNSL, the ministry of education and sports and FUFA, we propose that we meet you at your offices or any alternative venue of convenience,” read part of Magogo’s letter which said that Namboole’s actions are “not only counterproductive but also unpatriotic and a shame to our country.”
The letter is a reaction of an earlier letter to FUFA from the permanent secretary of the education ministry Dr. Rose Nassali Lukwago dated March 4, asking FUFA to pay MNSL sh111.9m they owe them.
“The purpose of this letter is to urge you to expeditiously settle the debt that FUFA owes Mandela National stadium. I also request you to update me on the action you have taken/are taking in effecting the debt payment,” read part of Nassali’s letter.
Namboole Managing Director Jamil Ssewanyana said that they balanced the book of accounts with the federation officials and arrived at the final figures, which are being contested by the same.
“We are not telling FUFA to pay from the coffers, we are telling them to pay what is due to us from the fans contribution to sports development in the country. The only problem is that they are not consistent with what they say. We have always told them to meet after matches but they wait towards an international match and rally the public against us instead of solving their problems,” said Ssewanyana.
He added that most of the money is from matches that were played after the guidelines were released on April 11, 2013 and there was no official protest from the federation over these guidelines.
Ssewanyana also said that the guidelines were directing the charges to be 15% of gross, but the board decided to revise it to be 15% of gross but less VAT.
“We should not blackmail each other but let us come up with strategies of solving this for once since we all need each other. The stadium uses over sh45m during a match in terms of utilities and extra work. There are also provisions by FIFA which we are insisting that we follow like being involved in the printing of match tickets and security but we are always being shelved off because each individual on the executive has interests in one of them.”
The Namboole Stadium board in their meeting last week said that they should also start cutting costs like having online tickets for all international matches they are hosting as this will cut some of the expenses that FUFA is incurring through commissions on sale, printing and also air tickets by over sh180m, though some officials in the federation are also fighting it.