By Ronald Ssekandi, Yuan Qing
KAMPALA, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- When Uganda faced Zambia about three weeks ago in a bid to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, many football fans in the East African country thought the time has come to join the prestigious continental tournament.
It was time for the country to break the 34 year jinx since it last appeared, and Zambia won the game in penalty shootout.
Shortly after the game, the blame started with some calling for the resignation of the coach while others said the entire executive of the football governing, Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) should resign.
The reasons varied ranging from alleged financial misconduct, ill preparedness to simply not measuring up for the job.
These quarrels, according to sports experts, are largely responsible for the under-development of the game in the country.
Nine executive members of FUFA are in the dock to answer concerns that they are in office illegally.
A suit filed at a High Court in the capital Kampala, a FUFA delegate from the eastern part of the country argued that the respondents ceased to be executive committee members of FUFA when the General Assembly of FUFA was dissolved on Aug. 25.
The applicant is seeking Court to declare an order that the continued stay in office by the respondents is illegal, null and void and a permanent injunction be put in place restraining them from continuing in office.
"We are ready to go to court and defend ourselves," said Mujib Kasule, FUFA Vice President in-charge of the country's League.
"This matter they are challenging was even attended and blessed by the world body FIFA (Federation of International Football Association)," he added.
FIFA has now cautioned against dragging football matters into courts of law warning that Uganda risks being suspended.
The world football governing body in a letter to FUFA dated Oct. 23 said that the court proceedings were a violation of the FIFA Statute.
"The action taken by the plaintiff is, from our point of view, a clear violation of Article 68 paragraphs 2 and 3 of the FIFA Statutes which prohibits the recourse to ordinary courts of law Statutes," said the letter signed by FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.
The letter also spells out that a violation of the FIFA Statues may lead to sanctions as stipulated in the FIFA Statutes, including suspension.
Valcke explained that a suspension would mean that no Ugandan team of any sort, including clubs could have international contact and that FUFA would not benefit anymore from development programs or courses.
"It is regrettable that FUFA is facing such difficulties while it has recently adopted a new Constitution reshaping Uganda football with new members and new procedures. All attention should be focused on the latest in order to have proper elections of the new FUFA leadership supposed to take place in November 2013," said the letter.
Away from the legal battles, football lovers and players are in a state of dilemma as two parallel leagues have been running for the past over one month.
One of the Leagues is sanctioned by FUFA while the other Bell Super League is supported by sponsors Supersport and Uganda Breweries Limited.
Traditional teams like Sports Club Villa, Express and now Police Football Club each have separate teams in each of the two Leagues and some of the matches are played on the same day under the same team names in the two separate Leagues.
The problems started over two months ago when the FUFA decided to withdraw the mandate of organizing the League from Uganda Super League Limited (USLL), a company which was given the mandate by FIFA and the FA.
However, USLL and the sponsors Supersport and UBL have chosen to stick to the agreements, thus causing the tricky situation.
Julius Kabenge, the chairman of USLL, told Xinhua recently that they will continue to organize the League because they still have a binding contract and FUFA did not involve them in all the changes they were making.
"Our sponsors are happy with what we are doing and they already even gave us money to start the League," he said.
But the FUFA Vice President in-charge of the League, Mujib Kasule said all these problems would come to end soon.
"Yes it's unfortunate we have two leagues running now but people should remember that the League sanctioned by the FA is the one recognized by CAF and FIFA as well," he said.
Although the teams continue to battle on and off the pitch, the current situation is obviously affecting the development and growth of the sport.
Already six players from SC Villa have had their contracts canceled because they chose to play in the legitimate League, and they are thinking of taking the matter to court.
Moses Basena, a former national assistant coach, told Xinhua recently that the situation is affecting the development of the sport because players are not concentrating.
"We call upon the football leaders in the country to come together and find a solution because the footballers are the loser," said Basena.
"We don't like what is happening with these two leagues because teams cannot concentrate and this is affecting performance," said Uganda Revenue Authority FC coach Alex Isabirye.