SPORTS BILL: Where is the money?

The law puts in place in more clear reward scheme for legends like Inzikuru. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

First the law mandates the Minister to determine the prescribe the monetary payments, pension and gratuity that will be awarded to those that represent the country and excel under the National Recognition and Rewards Scheme.

Much has been made of Uganda's need for a sports law that will encourage the commercialization of sports.

The international sports industry is a multi-billion sector that the 1964 National Council of Sports (NCS) Act does not encourage stakeholders to tap into.

In their report, the Committee on Education and Sports argued that when applying for the certificate of financial implications, the framers argued well for the need of a law that encourages commercialization and development of sports but did not indicate the expected gains or revenues to government when the Bill is enacted into law.

This is the committee of Parliament that was tasked with harmonizing the Physical Activity and Sports Bill (government) and the National Sports Bill, 2021 (presented by Hon. Moses Magogo) into the current National Sports Bill, that was passed by Parliament last week and awaits the President's signature.

There were assurances from the Minister of Finance that government can fund activities of the sports sector. The Ministry argued that even though the money allocated to sports for next financial year is Shs17.39bn, they had between 2016/17 to 2022/23 grown the sports budget from Shs3.4bn to Shs47.81bn and have the capacity to do more.

National Rewards Scheme

For athletes, there are many reasons to be encouraged.

First the law mandates the Minister to determine the prescribe the monetary payments, pension and gratuity that will be awarded to those that represent the country and excel under the National Recognition and Rewards Scheme.

Previously, this has been the preserve of the President and has been hard to streamline but could now have to be funded directly by the Treasury.

Also their image rights have been protected as those that abuse them will have to compensate the affected athlete. But they will need more shrewdness in signing these contracts, especially with clubs.

NCS watchdog

National Council of Sports (NCS) has been empowered to register federations and give them their legal being unlike in the past, where federations went to the Ministry of Lands or Uganda Registration Services Bureau. Since Council has the powers to charge fees for services rendered under this Act, this new arrangement of registration will definitely attract certain fees as will the registration of sports academies.

NCS has also been empowered to know what federations receive from their international and continental governing bodies as a way of ensuring the money is not being used for illegal activities like money laundering and financing terrorism.

Most importantly, they retain their vote and will be getting funds directly from the government Treasury.


Council has also been awarded several powers and there will be debate on whether the current make of NCS has the technical capacity to execute some roles; like maintaining and certifying public sports facilities, licensing sports academies, authorizing schools competitions and listing arbitrators among others.

Eventually, the Act will definitely see the creation of a board and jobs that offer this technical-know-how. 

Then with federations required to register agents, promoters and managers plus resolve disputes through arbitration, there will definitely be registration fees and creation of new value chain of lawyers, arbitrators that are conversant with sports and its disputes.

The law also mostly defines offences and penalties that protect federations but expect growth in legal services as there will be more contract disputes even at club level, disputes against NCS, national team selection disputes, transfer disputes among others as the fraternity will now encouragement to seek affordable sporting justice.

The creation of the National Anti-doping Organisation (Nado) will also come with jobs for experts in this field.


More than acting as deterrents for various offences defined in the law, these penalties should encourage investment in sports as rights are protected but there will need to be a cultural shift for Ugandans to turn into buyers of sports content.

There is a lot to protect manufactures of sports merchandise but like for most incentives, Ugandans will need to appreciate a new culture to wear that genuine club jersey.

People have been barred from illegally accessing sports venues but will that translate to them keeping away for good or paying match day tickets?

Federations' broadcast rights have been secured but what is their value if the available broadcasters cannot buy them? Won't the federations still need the help of small media houses showing games for free to promote their viewership? 

What is missing?

However, there is little in the law to address one of the biggest challenge of our times: tax incentives and waivers for investors and on sports equipment.

These remain a preserve of the President, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) commissioners in consultation with the Minister of Education and Sports.