The taxation dilemma of football in Uganda.

“In this world, nothing can be certain except death and taxes.” Benjamin Franklin

Taxes is one of the most hated expenses that most individuals and companies always complain about and/or try to avoid.

Some avoid taxes in a legally accepted way, others are smart enough to transfer it to their customers while the rest illegally avoid paying taxes either intentionally or through ignorance.

The majority of football stakeholders in Uganda have been ignorant about their tax obligations until the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) communicated that football clubs are supposed to start remitting Pay As You Earn (P.A.Y.E) for all their employees.

As usual, most tax announcements are met with complaints yet football stakeholders should have a positive attitude towards meeting all tax obligations, and here’s why.

By August 2020, the majority of sectors in Uganda had resumed operating post the COVID-19 induced lockdown but, football was still on hold.

Football in Uganda does contribute a lot to the economy but it’s not documented for the government to be aware of facts.

For those of us that work in football, our livelihoods depend on it but unfortunately, we haven’t taken the necessary steps to show the government how football contributes to Uganda’s economy.

By now, we have learnt that the government of Uganda prioritizes the sectors that contribute to the economy.

A very good example would be the transport sector of commuter taxis and Boda bodas, they operate in an informal sector but are customers of the fuel companies that pay a lot of taxes.

It’s easy to see why the transport sector was allowed to resume earlier than football yet it also has the risk of crowding.

Football stakeholders in Uganda should accept that complying with tax regulations would enable the government to know what they contribute to the economy and how to support the growth of football.

The other reason is the ability for football to get tax holidays, however, this’ only possible when the government is able to know the potential of football’s contribution to the economy.

Tax holidays in football would encourage economic activity and foster growth, stimulate foreign investment and increase tax revenue in the long run.

This’ where the football in Uganda finds itself in a tax dilemma. Is it tax holidays before taxes?

For football in Uganda to be on the safe side, it would have to be paying taxes first then lobby for tax holidays.

Thank you for reading!

Managing Finances for Football in Uganda.

Football organizations need money to operate yet it’s a very scarce resource because of the tight competition involved in acquiring it.
To beat the tight competition, football organizations in Uganda must have good financial management practices.

Managing finances transparently, efficiently
and effectively is essential to ensure continued income and growth for any football organization.

Mentioning good financial management practices and the majority of Ugandans in the same sentence is almost equivalent to mentioning water and oil in the same space. The two hardly mix!

Financial literacy is supposed to be taught from the infancy stage using the same effort as reading, writing, etiquette, and all the other lessons that are taught in that period of human growth.

Unfortunately, the majority of Ugandans don’t undergo financial literacy that would enable us to practice good financial management. As we get older, we struggle to manage personal finances yet besides, we have football organizations to manage.

A friend of mine named Peter traveled with his family and in-laws to Kabale to celebrate Christmas. As the norm usually has it in most Ugandan cultures, his parents gave his niece 10,000 Uganda shillings as pocket money on the way back.

Along the way, the excited niece and the mother planned on how to use the money and settled for the idea of buying roasted chicken to enjoy the road trip.
They gladly requested Peter that should he come across a selling point for roasted chicken, he should stop so that they spend their money.

Concerned about their choice on how to spend the money, Peter asked the sister in law and niece whether eating chicken was their main need.

Of course, his question wasn’t treated in a good way but he exercised his authority to inform them that he wasn’t going to stop.

The above scenario of impulsive spending speaks to the majority of us Ugandans yet we are required to manage finances in the organizations that we serve.

Another misconception among we Ugandans, it that good financial management practices is a job for people employed in the finance department yet it’s every individual that is part of an organization.

In June 2020, the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) approved that $1.5 million will be sent out to each member association as COVID-19 relief aid.

Football clubs in Uganda are already demanding for the money to pay off salaries and in typical Ugandan financial management fashion, there are already articles published to show how the money should be spent.

The money is not meant to bail out only football clubs but the entire football family of FUFA’s 34 members.

I can understand that football clubs in Uganda have been badly affected by COVID-19 and need money to pay salaries but I am very sure the majority of football clubs have always had inconsistencies in paying salaries.

I am not sure about the instructions but, If I had to decide, I would ensure that $1.5 million is spent on activities that will lead to growing or attracting competent human capacity within football and infrastructure that would lead to sustainable income within football.

For example, there’s no club with a training ground worthy of a professional football club in Uganda.

How many football clubs in Uganda lack training facilities? How many football clubs spend money on renting or hiring poor training facilities?

If part of that money were to be used to construct modern football training facilities in some parts of the country, would clubs still have to rent or hire training facilities as a cost? Would owning training facilities enable clubs to make money in the long run?

We need to prioritize the training of good financial management practices within football in Uganda.

It’s never too late and, will save us the burden that comes with the ignorance of managing finances for football in Uganda.

Mutualized Services would Develop Football in Uganda.

Mutualized services in football are when two or more football clubs use the same service as a solution to solve a common problem.

The football clubs involved will put aside their rivalry to use a common service as a solution that would help them to grow.

It’s believed that in the late 1990’s SC Villa, Express FC, and KCCA FC formed an association named V.E.K because they weren’t happy about the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) paying them less money from the Nile Breweries league sponsorship.

The three clubs approached Hedex for sponsorship and played a tournament in form of a super cup.

In that example, three clubs had a common problem of less income from sponsorship then united to attract a common sponsorship service as the solution.

Football in Uganda has very many problems. Clubs are faced with countless challenges that keep increasing every other year.

Some of the problems faced by clubs include; lack of training and match day facilities, lack of competent human personnel, and poor governance.

The majority of the problems faced by football clubs in Uganda, can’t be solved by each of the clubs on their own because the cost would be unaffordable.

KCCA FC’s 2018-2022 strategic plan shows that the club needs an estimated $2.5 million to construct a stadium at their current location in Lugogo but has so far got about $600,000 to start the first phase of stadium construction.

On having the funds available to start construction, KCCA FC’s chairman Martin Ssekajja was quoted by the press to have said that, “We would like to call upon sponsors, fans and KCCA FC well-wishers who can lend a helping hand to come through. We are going to create an app that everyone will use to donate their money for this project and we shall account for every penny.”

The entire process shows that KCCA FC is struggling to raise funds to construct a stadium that meets international standards.

KCCA FC can use mutualized services to partner with one of their rivals like SC Villa or Express FC to combine the efforts that would be required to raise the funds to construct a stadium and share the venue.

Mutualized services can be extended with negotiating for shirt sponsors, sleeve sponsors, stadium naming rights, and partners.

These would enable KCCA FC and the other club to earn more because they would be offering more in terms of numbers.

It might sound impossible because of the rivalry between KCCA FC and Express FC or SC Villa but rivalries like AC Milan and Inter Milan in Italy have used mutualized benefits to share a stadium, and are planning to construct a modern stadium very soon.

The other mutualized services idea that would benefit KCCA FC is the size of the land on which they are planning to construct a stadium.

Would KCCA FC get more if they partnered with the Kampala Rugby Club?

Do KCCA FC and Kampala Rugby Club have similar problems that can be solved with a similar solution?

Mutualized services should be the leverage used by clubs to grow themselves and develop football in Uganda.

NB: Good governance and strategic management need to be in practice if clubs are to get the best out of mutualized services.

Thank you for reading!

Stakeholders with A Genuine Passion for Football.

At the start of the COVID-19 induced lock-down, a video of Russian Olympic swimmer Yuliya Efimova practicing in a kitchen was circulated on social media.

Without a swimming pool, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games postponed and Russia banned at the Olympic games, she had a perfect excuse not to train but her passion for wanting to be a better swimmer kept her going.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, passion is a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

“Passion breeds innovation, and creativity.”

Innovation and creativity are needed to solve problems; something that pays a lot of money.

Take a look at the organizations that are either the most profitable or highly influential in any sector; they solve problems.

“Simplicity is genius.”

Football in Uganda has a lot of problems that players, coaches, referees, and administrators at clubs and associations have failed to solve over the years.

Failing to solve problems leads to football being either less profitable or lacking influence, something that reduces the involvement of the government, sponsors, fans, media, and providers.

With less involvement of external stakeholders, it becomes almost impossible to have the funding, law, infrastructure, and policies that are needed to take football to the level of becoming an economic activity that can have a massive contribution to Uganda’s economy.

Please click here to read: 
FUFA can't solve Uganda's 
football problems on it's own.

The majority of football stakeholders in Uganda claim to be passionate about football but confuse passion with the motivation for earning money at first sight.

The easiest way to find out whether an individual lacks passion is to place them in a problematic environment; do you get an excuse from them or a reason aimed at solving the problem?

Here is a scenario: In 2020, we still have football pitches that flood during the rainy season.

The reason is heavy rain makes the pitches to flood. The excuse is that it’s a rainy season.

An administrator with problem-solving skills would learn how to make pitches that have good drainage to enable the pitch to be used irrespective of the amount of rainfall.

Would that enable the pitch to generate more revenue?

Football was introduced in Uganda earlier than other sectors but hasn’t developed at the same rate.

In sectors like transport, banking, telecommunications, and fashion it’s possible and feasible to import and use the latest ideas that are a result of innovation and creativity of passionate people.

It’s possible to have a Mercedes Benz, iPhone, and a pair of damaged jeans in Uganda because those are tangible products solving your transport, communication, and dressing wants but the same can’t be said for football.

You don’t need to wait for a Ugandan made car, mobile phone, or clothing but if they existed, then home-made products in that sector would need to step up and match the quality to compete.

With a better football product being offered on pay-tv, Ugandan football can’t compete neither is it feasible to import better players, coaches, referees, and administrators.

That leaves us with no option but to be creative and innovative.

In other sectors, it’s also possible to copy hence no need to rely on innovation and creativity.

Copying might have an added cost but is still possible.

For instance; All banks seem to have SMS and E-mail notifications on account transactions but the idea must have originated from somewhere else.

In football, if you copy then chances are high that you will fail because many other conditions have to be met for the copied idea to succeed.

You can see this with the idea of how we copied the English Premier League’s model.

In less than two years, it was already a failed project because we didn’t have the competent personnel to make it work.

Ugandan football stakeholders are currently in a catch 22 situation of the money first option because we prefer instant gratification.

Football in Uganda needs internal stakeholders that see problems as an opportunity.

Not an opportunity for themselves but for the next generations to enjoy football in better conditions.

We need stakeholders with a genuine passion for football to solve Uganda’s football problems.

Thank you for reading!

Are you an internal football stakeholder?

Have you solved any football problem over the past three months?

Please use the #UGfootballitstartswithme hash tag on twitter to share your problem solving.

Football talent is overrated.

We have this assumption that Ugandan footballers are talented, we have the best football talent in East Africa.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, talent is defined as a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught.

There’s a very high chance that human beings misuse the word talent because, apart from reflex actions like blinking and breathing, almost every other action has to be learned or taught.

It’s animals that might be well suited to the word talent: Does a cheetah practice to have a high speed? Do ducks practice how to swim? Do dogs ever practice how to swim?

Football requires a range of skills categorized as releasing the ball, travelling with the ball and, gathering the ball.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, a skill is an ability to do an activity or job well, especially because you have practiced it.

When you see Lionel Messi dribbling, Christiano Ronaldo jumping to head a ball, Manuel Neuer making a save, Nemanja Vidic tackling an opponent, David Beckham passing the ball and many other professional footballers performing skills.

Those are football skills that has been learnt through DELIBERATE practice.

Before the 90’s it was possible to become excellent at football without a football academy. Youngsters played a lot of street football which made them skilled footballers.

There’s a high possibility that a Ugandan footballer in the 70’s could have played in Europe without a lot of difficulty because of the similarity in the way players learnt football skills across all continents.

However, all this changed with the introduction of football academies in Europe. The rest of the world followed the trend and, even some parts of Africa like Ivory Coast embraced the idea of football academies.

Football practice moved from the street to deliberate practice and nurturing football ability, something that we haven’t yet started in Uganda.

With all due respect to whoever operates a football academy in Uganda, they are day care centres in disguise.

Football ability (read talent) can make a difference in under age football.
At U-12 age category, it’s very easy to see a footballer that stands out of the crowd to be deemed as talented.

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Research in England shows that between 13-16 years of age, there’s a 76% drop out rate from football. For them it could be due to many factors but what about in Uganda?

We don’t have figures to base on research but its likely that the lack of professional football, an amateur mindset towards football and the lack of domestic football role models leads to parents preferring ONLY formal education over any form of football practice.

There’s also a high possibility that most football drop out rates are due to the extra work that starts at 13 years of age in football training.

From that moment, if players have started puberty then speed, endurance and strength training is introduced.

The football dropout rate increases to 96% after 18 years of age perhaps due to the demands of football performance which is more than just talent.

Football statistics have also shown that in modern football, the average time spent on the ball is less than 2 minutes for each player.

Footballers spend most of the time on the pitch doing other activities that require a combination of speed, strength and endurance that are greatly affected by coordination.

They also require mental strength like the 5C’s of football which greatly help in decision making.

Being skilled is extremely important but it’s just a tiny fraction of the foundation required to be a professional footballer.

Being a skilled footballer (read talent) on it’s own is not enough to play professional football.

The lack of competent football skills coaches, managers capable of nurturing talent and genuine football academies means that expecting to have talented Ugandan footballers has a lot to do with mediocrity hence the comparison with other East African countries.

For us to keep thinking that talent is a big deal, indeed football talent is overrated in Uganda.

Thank you for reading.