The 2013/14 topflight soccer season starts sometime in August, not as the Uganda Super League (USL) or Fufa Super League (FSL), but Uganda Premier League (UPL).
A Cabinet sitting chaired by Henry Kajura, the second deputy Prime Minister, at Parliament yesterday passed recommendations by the Education and Sports Ministry following Permanent Secretary Francis Lubanga’s findings into the fiasco that is Ugandan football.
USL sponsors SuperSport and Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) were yet to respond to the news yesterday but have previously maintained the desire to stay in the game as long as clubs unanimously agreed that they were under one consensual body. SuperSport and UBL signed a five-year Shs13b broadcast deal and Shs2.2b three-year pact respectively with USL starting from the 2011/12 season.
Jessica Alupo, the Education and Sports Minister, presented the report to Cabinet. “No league will kick off next season if it is not one,” she told Daily Monitor yesterday. “The new league will be called Uganda Premier League and once both teams in FSL and USL have harmonized, the league will be run under the USL set-up, now UPL. We also continue to talk with sponsors to ensure that they stick with us next season.”
Fufa’s legality, accountability
Alupo added: “We have also resolved that clubs from FSL and USL should organize themselves according to the Jinja Declaration (which brought about USL, a semi-autonomous body to run the league in 2010) and an interim committee put up by the ministry will help them harmonise. “That committee of about six senior, respected, and some retired, sportsmen and neutral Ugandans, who should not actively be involved with Fufa or USL, will also advise us on ways to revitalize sports administration, on Fufa legality and accountability in two weeks time.
“On Monday next week we shall come up as a ministry with a comprehensive message to the public regarding this whole mater. We shall also say something about Fufa’s legality.” The FSL chairman, Abbasi Kaawaase, questioned the development. “Are they saying that we are going back to the dark ages?” he wondered, “We shall watch and see.
If Fifa says that is the right thing, then we shall follow it, if they say no, we shall not.” His opposite at USL, Kavuma Kabenge, welcomed the news. “We are thankful to government that this impasse has been resolved,” he said, “We agreed as clubs and we shall maintain our contract with sponsors.”
Highlights from Cabinet ruling
• Current USL setting to run UPL and Fufa remain football supervisors
• Clubs from USL and FSL to come together as per Jinja Declaration
• Six-man interim committee appointed by ministry to help in double clubs merging
• No member actively involved with Fufa or USL to be on interim committee
Sept, 2012: After Fufa orchestrating a new entity in FSL, USL went ahead to kick off their 2012/13 season
Sept 25: FSL also started their season, leading to two topflight leagues
Dec 13: Education and Sports Minister Alupo meets Fufa (FSL), USL and sponsors.
Dec 2012: Alupo tasks FSL and USL to have one league by Jan 31, 2013
January 2013: Alupo reiterates Jan 31 ultimatum, saying govt would not be intimidated by Fifa ban threats.
Jan 31: USL and FSL are in full flight on deadline day.
Feb: More dillydallying between Lubanga’s report going to PM and Cabinet. ”
March 5: Minister meets clubs and, oddly, government sanctions both USL and FSL to continue April 24: Ministry paper for the first time goes on Cabinet agenda but is not presented
Yesterday: Alupo presented the document in Cabinet and it was passed, decreeing that new league is Uganda Premier League.