May 11, 2020

MOSES MUHANGI | Part III: A case of Ghost Federations, What is a national sport?


Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) President Muhangi Moses

When I opened up the debate on Ghost federations in NCS, I anticipated that our regulators would, in essence, consider an in-house check on their stock, maybe I was misconceived and I need to highlight on what would constitute a sport of National semblance and appeal before we go into the “mandatory role of recognition” by NCS.

For us to have a valid debate, we must first separate emotions from logic as we debate and subsequently we must be able to bare in mind that there is the academic and realistic approach to this issue if you choose to go academic one will refer you to the mandate of NCS in as far promoting and developing sport is concerned, this approach is silent about the physical situation on ground…

When you choose to be realistic then you will have a practical outlook of what am talking about… get the list of the 52 federations as is listed on paper, traverse the countryside, district by district and come back to me and tell me how many sports federations out of the 52 will you find? Then your guess will be as good as mine!

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to hear from the Chairman NCS on different media stations whose discussion has in a way partly confirmed my doubts about being misconceived- he specifically gave an example of Federations developing at different levels and used the analogy of a new district sitting with old districts in the district planning meetings, I am not opposed to that but would wish to remind the Chairman that for an area to qualify as a District it MUST have some minimum requirements in place that qualify it for the status of a District among other things being the physical and geographical location.
Let me there drive my arguement home:

1- Eligibility for recognition by NCS

Under S.2 of NCS Act 1964, NCS has a duty to develop promote and control all forms of sports in addition to other functions prescribed therein.

However, guided by NCS Regulations 2014, Regn 4(2) specifically bars NCS from registration of national sports associations that do not meet the requirements in 3, 5, 6, 7 & 8. Regn 3(2) defines a NF/A to be an organisation promoting and supervising a particular sport throughout the country and; Regn 3(3) sets the parameters including the nature of sport, popularity of the sport, presence of facilities to play the sport and plan of the association to promote the sport.

If we were to follow those parameters and without pointing to any particular federation therefore, how many of the associations under the NCS list qualify for the set provisions?? What is the set minimum of national participation and coverage of a sport before it is recognized by NCS – is it a case of replicating a sport that is elsewhere and submit my paperwork for recognition or a factual availability of the sport before recognition by NCS?

If such legal provisions are not satisfied then enlisting such sport would ideally be registering a “Ghost” entity. Which takes me to my second point:

2- National Impact and significance of the Sport

We are currently squabbling over budgetary allocations and in the face of sports funding by the state but has our regulator realised that it’s high time to pick on sports that impact on the nation from the basic social setting – community level to international achievements.

Locally if the primary role of NCS is to develop sport has it considered the factual existence of the various sports and physical participation, it may be a club game that requires few participants but even then what is its target audience board games like chess are common in schools, so anyone can appreciate that as an audience with a geographical coverage (schools) such sport/game also rolls out to the general community.

How many of the federation holds that semblance, in a sport like Boxing, whether there is a gym or not you will find Youths in the outskirts practising the art & skill, the benefits of boxing are numerous ranging from personal health to a thriving career and international achievements for the country, hosting one regional boxing event would mean income to participants like coaches, volunteers etc and consequently revenue from guests in the recent National Boxing Championships we have attracted thousands of reveller, spent millions of service providers – how many of the federations on the NCS list have such capacity if not are we not holding Ghost federations?

I will, therefore, conclude by insisting that a check & shake-up of the NCS list better be done as soon as yesterday.

Much as Regn 20(1) & (2) 2014 required re-application of existing NF/A’s to for registration, were there checks to see that such federation met the eligibility requirements? Is it too late to conduct re-screening exercise??

The right time is actually now when sports activities are on the low and a funding policy is on the table in the face of a national budget cut.


Author: Moses Muhanzi is President of the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF)