Only 15 of the 53 national sports associations registered with National Council of Sports have offices. Of the 15, only football and golf own headquarters
By James Bakama
If an office is a measure of seriousness in management, then Uganda’s sports sector is in a crisis.
Only 15 of the 53 national sports associations registered with National Council of Sports have offices. Of the 15, only football and golf own headquarters. The rest all rent.
Athletics, badminton, cricket, football, boxing, rugby, pool, swimming, Paralympics, wood ball, blind sports, sports for disabilities, universities, sports press, golf and ludo are the only bodies with offices.
A top sports administrator described the situation as a serious crisis. “If you surely can’t have a home, then you can’t be taken seriously.
These are briefcase associations with individuals masquerading as national representatives.”
An office is an administrative structure that not only eases management but also gives associations visibility. Lack of this visibility has had many youths failing to further their talents.
“I gave up skating after failing to link up with the national skating body to help me access competitions abroad,” complains Rogers Mukasa.
Mukasa is just one of hundreds of youths seeking direction in their quest to further their careers.
Management gurus regard an office as a pivotal part of any organisation. Besides being the locus of policy, it is an information hub that also serves as an intermediary role between a federation’s departments and the public.
However there are those who argue that an office denotes an activity and not a place. This group insists that an office exists anywhere, that certain kinds of works are performed. Rogers Mulindwa, the spokesperson of Uganda’s biggest federation FUFA, however insists that for integrity purposes a serious organisation must have an office.
“Having an association without an office automatically makes that body a briefcase entity that should not be representing national interests,” insists Mulindwa.
Most of the homeless sports associations rely on offices of their executives. This has on many occasions caused conflict especially during hand over. Those leaving office have on many occasions refused to hand-over to new association leaders, who as a result start from scratch.
Blame that on personalisation of organisations’ activities by the predecessors.
Funds are not safe
This also raises the issue of financial management. Some officials channel association funds through personal accounts, raising questions about the safety of these funds.
Recently, it emerged during an annual general assembly that the Uganda Weightlifting Association did not have a bank account.
Much as the NCS policy guidelines require associations to hold regular meetings plus having requisite administrative organs like executive committees, technical officers, sub committees and a general assembly, they don’t stress the importance of offices.
Local soccer governing body FUFA used to rent in seedy neighbourhoods until it was saved by its parent body FIFA.
A grant under FIFA’s Goal Project had it completing its three floor headquarters on Wakaliga Road, Mengo in 2003.
The Uganda Golf Union is the only other local sports body that owns its own headquarters at Kitante.
Uganda Cricket Association CEO Justin Ligyalingi explains that a fully functional office is one of the conditions the International Cricket Council set before release of its $320,000 (sh838m) grant.
Ligyalingi says that well aware that national boards of its affiliates keep changing, it directed national bodies to not only employ CEOs as secretariat heads, but also put in place serious offices.
“You can’t meet a serious sponsor in a container office or on the street. They would not take you seriously with their money,” noted Ligyalingi, who since taking charge at UCA has been operating from a spacious office in Nakawa.
Uganda could pick a leaf from Rwanda which has offices of all its sports bodies at the Amahoro National stadium in Kigali.
Mandela National Stadium, Namboole would in Uganda’s case serve the same purpose.
70% of sports associations in Uganda run as briefcase offices