By Eng. Moses Magogo (FUFA President)
Globally, Football is that industry that did not come to its knees when the Credit Crunch hit the world economy in 2007/8. It was the case of rising revenues for the top industry earners when Airlines and Banks were closing.
The natural resource for football is the talent which is God-given. Many countries are trying so hard, investing millions of dollars, but money cannot buy talent. Apparently, Uganda is abundantly endowed with raw football talent
Ugandan football should be looked at as a brand that must be nurtured, rebranded, taken care of and jealously protected to be able to unlock its potential.
The Uganda football brand is a composition of the individual brands of the players, officials, coaches, referees, clubs, the football associations, the leagues and FUFA itself. One bad tomato could spoil the entire bunch.
FUFA has demonstrated that when a brand is properly managed, it will automatically get buyers and therefore revenues.
If the revenues are reinvested in development, systems and structures, the brand grows bigger and even makes more revenues.
For example, the annual sponsorship for the Uganda Cranes brand has increased from 466m UGX (180,000 USD) in 2013 to over 3.6b UGX (1m USD) in 2017.
By FUFA and its members stabilizing the football arena (void of wrangles) and by efforts of some clubs minding themselves as emerging brands, many clubs have signed to club sponsorships and currently the entire football industry is earning over 7b UGX (2m USD) from the Corporate Sector and much more from the entire private sector
This demonstrates that there is a lot more revenues that can be made from the available over 700b UGX (200m USD) advertising spend in Uganda. When more revenues are made and reinvested in the development of the game and the industry at large, then the quality of the overall product will increase and definitely the demand will become international which will further bring international revenues from international audiences, prize monies in international competitions and sale of Players and Rights
Unfortunately, despite the era of ICT where information access is right into our palms 24/7, many Ugandans and many opinion leaders and key stakeholders in Ugandan Football have not woken up to realise the potential of the Ugandan Football Economy. Many key industry players have failed to comprehend the basics of this trade.
The internal stakeholders that include the players, coaches, referees, administrators, clubs, officials, and FUFA itself must urge every individual in the game to jealously protect the gains and the brand of Ugandan football. We should all condemn in the strongest terms and apply the strongest rules to the errant members’ communications, actions and simulations that “de-brand” Ugandan football.
Those who think the growth of the industry will give political capital to the current leadership are living on the wrong side of history.
Human beings come and go. Naturally systems and nature will cause replacement of people, but if the systems and structures are not institutionalized, it will take another generation to come and start what we have not started.
For example, I was disappointed recently when on one of the forums, Club Chairmen are spending hours resisting docking of points for hooliganism and issues of performance of referees.
In my view, the FUFA President and Club Chairmen should be discussing statistics of the business not points and referees. These are very petty issues that can be handled by the FUFA & UPL Secretariat and Club CEOs if not even less.
Let the football top brass raise the level of debate to how the industry should shape to make more money and how matters that could stagnate growth of the Uganda football brand can be mitigated if not eliminated.
It should be matters of the business regulatory regime, infrastructure, and incentives to attract more private sector investment into Sports and general government funding that should be discussed by the football top echelon not hooligan coaches and fans who should just face the rules.
Let the internal and external stakeholders join to support FUFA, the football industry regulator, to achieve its vision of becoming the Number one football nation in Africa on and off the pitch through the mission of developing, promoting and protecting football for all.
It is Our Game, It is Our Country.