What you need to know:
- Maroons are one of a few privileged institutional clubs that are in position to take care of basic recurring needs of their sporting clubs. But even then, the need to widen revenue sources cannot be emphasised enough.
Like other government funded clubs such as KCCA, Maroons - who are majorly bank-rolled by Uganda Prisons Services - have an encouraging head-start over privately owned sports entities.
The annual disbursements from Authorities at KCCA and URA (the latter’s club board declined to cooperate with us on this project) to their clubs are said to be over a billion respectively, a decent place to start from.
A place where Maroons, owned Uganda Prisons, are also privileged to start from every season.
Actually, the Prisons Services take charge of 85 per cent of the club’s annual budget, including feeding, salaries and transportation among others.
A bird in hand…
In a country where club owners invest their own money with next to zero chances of making it back, and one where the product is hardly good enough to turn heads of big money investors, starting every new season with some guarantees is gold in itself.
“I would say I am happy with where the club stands currently given the performance of the club and its auxiliary teams i.e She Maroons and the Junior Team,” Maroons CEO Rodrick Muhumuza told the Daily Monitor.
“However, the inflow is not as it is expected. For instance we still have low sales in merchandise due to quality and sizes, especially last season 2022/23.” Maroons made sales of only Shs5m from last season.
“The gate collections are also not improving because the environment at our home ground is not attractive to the fans.” The club collected Shs37.5m from the gate in the previous campaign.
Maroons host their home games from the Prisons Ground in Luzira, which provides only standing space outside a perimeter fence.
“There is still room for improvement on our matchday hospitality by putting in place comfortable places for fans to sit and watch games,” Muhumuza elaborated.
“It should be noted that we have no pavilion for fans which discourages big numbers considering the weather conditions.”
On the development side, Muhumuza acknowledges the need to “continue empowering Maroons Academy to feed into the Senior team.”
“Of course the financial constraints continue. The challenge for us now is bringing on board more sponsors in order to maintain the flow of work.”
The above cannot be emphasised enough. Relying on Prisons for 85 per cent of the club’s budget, which money from the government is often dependent on availability, gives some relief but does not afford the club enough room to plan more and execute better.
Different partnerships and sponsorships including Virgin Oil (Shs200m), Startimes (Shs95m) and MTN (Shs12m) among other sources combine for only Shs365m annually.
Uganda Prisons director of sports, David Okiring, acknowledges the tough economic times but is not lost on the privileged position Maroons enjoy.
“To be frank,” Okiring told this newspaper, “ in the midst of the prevailing economic downturn there's no sports Club in Uganda that can claim to be in a healthy state in terms of its finances and sustainability.
Better than most
“Maroons Football Club is no exception to this. However, comparatively we're in a better state than over 90% of the Clubs because we are able to meet most of our recurrent financial obligations in time.
“We have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes in the last couple of years and going by our performance of last season we are quite confident that our efforts are starting to pay dividends.”
Maroons finished sixth on 41 points, 12 behind champions Vipers, last season.
“We are doing our best to build on that and push the club to the level where our partners, fans and all other stakeholders will be proud of associating with,” added Okiring.
Okiring acknowledges the club gets in some revenue, “but the money we make is not at the same level with what we are investing in the club.
“That means that we are currently spending way more than what we make as a club and are far from breaking even.
“To the Uganda Prisons Service as the parent of Maroons Football Club, it's in our historical bloodline to be a home that identifies, nurtures and builds sports talents in the country.
“We are certainly not doing this to make money for the institution but for the benefit of our individual athletes and their immediate families.” Therein lies the power. You only hope investors see it.
Maroons FC structure
Patron - Johnson Byabashaija
Board chairperson - Hillary Bisanga
Vice chairperson - Sana Brenda
Elly Tumuryamye, Ronald Ojambo, Onesmas Bitaliwo, Apollo Sempungu, Yusuf Kiboome,
CEO - Rodrick Muhumuza
Director of sports and board secretary - David Okiring
Head coach - Muhammad Ssenfuma
Assistant coach - Simon Peter OjokAnnual budget summary for Maroons FC
- Eight players not on Prisons payroll: Shs58m
- 60 players and staff on payroll: Shs403m
- Head coach and 2 assistants: Shs66m
- 3 trainers: Shs36m
Sub total: Shs563m
Training expenses (daily transport, meals, licencing, registration etc): Shs261m
Office imprest of CEO, 4 coaches: Up to Shs22m
Winning bonuses for up to 30 games for 12 officials, 18 players: Shs126m
Other expenses (player recruitment, maintenance works, website, medical, gym, furniture etc): Shs240m
Assorted sets of several team equipment: Shs84m
Match day expenses (transport, meals, refreshments, accommodation etc)
- 15 home matches: Shs26m
- 15 away matches: Shs40m
Sub total: Shs66m
TOTAL : Shs1.35b
Annual budget summary for ALL Maroons Football Clubs
Maroons FC: Shs1.35b
She Maroons FC season expenses: Shs534m
Maroons Junior season expenses: Shs295m
Maroons FC Academy: Shs19m
ANNUAL GRAND TOTAL EXPENDITURE: Shs2.2b
Annual corporate support: Shs10m
Pitch adverts & Gate collections: Shs5.4m
Club merchandise sales: Shs5m (first season)