Currently, football talk in Uganda has been dominated by the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA’s) competition reforms that were proposed a few weeks ago.
In one of the key proposals, FUFA announced that they intend to reduce the number of Uganda Premier League clubs from 16 to 12 before the start of the 2021/22 season.
This has given rise to consistent debate among the different football stake holders in the country with some claiming it would be a step in the wrong direction.
StarTimes, the official UPL sponsors had remained tight lipped regarding the reforms until Monday, April 13.
The pay-tv’s East Africa Regional Marketing Manager Aldrine Nsubuga who was hosted on one of the local Televisions via a video call, shared his opinion about the reforms, claiming that StarTimes, are yet to be contacted.
“We as the league sponsors are still in the blue about the proposed reforms, noted Nsubuga who is currently in Kenya.
“We have not received a letter or held a meeting with the Federation let alone been contacted regarding the reforms.
“We do not know if communication will come in soon but we hope it does.”
Nsubuga who has been in the football circle for a while, tasked FUFA to ensure that they give clear reasons as to why they wish to make such ‘drastic’ reforms.
He also stated that the Federation should clarify on whether they are not happy with the league or if all this is intended for commercialization.
“This is a very big move and FUFA should ensure they give everyone clear reasons as to why they are making such reforms.
“If they are not happy with something concerning the league, they should come out and put it on the table. If it is because of commercialization, they should explain the benefits.”
The renowned Liverpool FC fan who brokered the deal that saw StarTimes take over the UPL in a 10-year deal back in August 2018 also noted that the Federation should outline a problem (s), before trying to find a solution.
“They (FUFA) are not naming any problems with the league that need to be solved.
“As sponsors, we are out to exploit brand value and visibility which we think is better with 16 teams as compared to 12.
“When you reduce the teams, it means our visibility is going to decrease because the fans are decreasing too.”
FUFA proposed that the reduction in teams will help fuel more competition and ensure more games are broadcast on TV, including the Big League which is expected to hobour 16 teams by 2022.
In a document published on FUFA.com, the remaining 12 teams will play a total of 33 games each, taking the tally of games to 396 per season.
They also highlighted that a reserve league will be formed to ensure the teams have a wider base from which they can pick players and integrate them into the first team.
However, Nsubuga is not convinced all that will help, claiming that there are not certainties either way.
“FUFA is assuming that we as sponsors are interested in the other leagues they intend to give birth to.
“Ask you self, why do we only broadcast the FUFA Big League playoffs and not the regular season? It is simply because we do not see it as relevant to our cause and it is now sad that FUFA thinks we will be interested in other leagues after their reforms.
“FUFA has not given anyone enough reasons as to why they intend to effect the reforms and i can only take them as a joke.
“In terms of the competition increasing, their is no guarantee for that too as they have not tackled the serious issues the league is facing which include poor officiating, corruption, bribery, match-fixing and the likes.”
It remains to be seen where the proposals will head but it is understood that FUFA is set to implement them in the stipulated period of time as highlighted in the documents that were released to the media.
The Uganda Premier League is currently on halt and is not expected to return before the end of the Coronavirus that has affected all sporting action world wide.