Magogo in tough place following US sanctions

Fufa president Moses Magogo. PHOTOS/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

With the sanctions issued by the U.S on the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among and her husband Moses Magogo, the Fufa president is all but ruled out of attending the 2026 Fifa World Cup, which will be hosted in the USA, Canada and Mexico

Until Thursday, May 30, 2024, Moses Magogo was due another routine election as Fufa president in August next year for a fourth straight term.

But news from the U.S, one of three 2026 Fifa World Cup hosting countries including Canada and Mexico, has left any plans Magogo might have regarding the global showpiece and international travel drenched in slightly dissolved ice. 

Actually, his involvement - should Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania proceed to host Afcon 2027; a tournament he significantly fought to bring home -, is now also in disarray as he may not be in his current position by then.

The U.S State Department on Thursday issued sanctions barring Speaker of Parliament Anita Among and four other Ugandan officials from entering the United States.

These latest sanctions, it said, were over "significant corruption and gross violations" of human rights.

“Speaker of Parliament Anita Among is designated due to involvement in significant corruption tied to her leadership of Uganda’s Parliament,” the Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, said in the statement

Bleak picture

Also secondarily sanctioned is Among’s husband and Fufa president, Magogo. His crime in this particular one? The matrimonial connection.

He and spouses of the other accused Ugandan officials are also “generally ineligible for entry into the United State,” added the State Department.

Osasu Obayiuwana, a British-Nigerian journalist and lawyer, an ex-Fifa Anti-Racism Task Force member and former BBC journalist, who writes for the Guardian and contributes to Al Jazeera and Times Radio, sees a rather bleak picture for Magogo in the game.

“The immediate consequence of the U.S. travel ban for Mr Magogo is that unless something happens to change the position of their government before the 2026 World Cup, he won’t be able to attend it or any other Fifa events in the United States," he told the Daily Monitor.

Fufa had not responded to our request for comment on the sanctions by press time. The sanctions are potentially very damaging to Magogo, especially because in instances like these, U.S allies usually adopt them and apply them on the designated individual.

The new building at the Fufa Complex in Mengo. 

Magogo’s operating space could be further reduced drastically if Fifa also listen to 'powers from above’.

Visa, for example, are Fifa partners, and this money transaction tool is often used by the U.S to target individuals under their sanctions.

Chequered past

While these sanctions do not specifically implicate Magogo in public office abuse, the Fufa boss has a solid history for it. 

In October 2019, Fifa - through the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee - handed Magogo a two-month suspension for illegally reselling the 2014 World Cup tickets.

"An investigation into Mr Magogo was opened on 23 July 2018 related to the resale of 2014 Fifa World Cup™ tickets,” read the ruling at the time.

"In accordance with art. 67 par.1 of the Fifa Code of Ethics, the parties have mutually agreed on the following sanctions: A fine of CHF 10,000 ($10,000 or Shs36m)....

"(And) a two-month suspension from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level."

Dubious TV deals

In July 2021, Daily Monitor also did an exposé on Magogo, which strongly linked the Fufa president to the co-ownership of Satellite Plus Systems, the company contracted to produce broadcast content for Fufa competitions at the time.

Article 25 of Fifa Code of Ethics on abuse of position says that “Persons bound by this Code shall not abuse their position in any way, especially to take advantage of their position for private aims or gains.

“Violation of this article shall be sanctioned with an appropriate fine of at least CHF 10,000 ($10,000) as well as a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for a minimum of two years.”

Neither the Government of Uganda nor Fifa took any action despite the available evidence. Magogo has been Fufa president since 2013.