Heads of 51 National Sports Associations convened on Wednesday, 22nd January 2020 at National Council of Sports (NCS) for the 2nd National Forum of Sports Associations. The Forum was chaired by the new Minister of State for Sports Honorable Denis Hamison Obua and in attendance were officials of Ministry of Education and Sports, Department of Physical Education and Sports, Uganda Olympic Committee, Board and Staff of National Council of Sports and media persons.

The Forum is periodically organized in line with Article 17 of the National Council of Sports Statutory Instrument No. 38 of 2014 which provides for the convening of the participatory meeting at least once every three months with the following objectives:

1. To recommend to the Minister strategies for promotion and development of sports
2. To attract and solicit for funding and partnerships for sports
3. To advise the Minister on the nature of assistance and support to be given to a national sports association representing Uganda abroad
4. To assist NCS in branding sports in the country

The General Secretary, Dr. Patrick B. Ogwel in his welcome remarks reechoed the need for expediting the passing of the PAS Bill, lobby for increased funding for the sports sector, secure waiver policy on sports equipment, centralize the control of all sports stadiums/Facilities to National Council of Sports and review of the National Sports Policy.

In supplementation, the Uganda Olympic Committee, Secretary General, Dr. Donald Rukare raised issues of Anti-doping, enhancement of cooperation between MOES, UOC and NCS with a clear Memorandum of Understanding of each of the stakeholders role, need for a comprehensive legal framework to guide the sports sector and lastly called for timely support towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in regards to securing more athlete qualifications to the games. He made a revelation that15 athletes from athletics and Rowing 1 have so far qualified although the target is 35 athletes.

The Minister in his opening remarks pointed to the issues of compliance of National Sports Associations to the existing Rules and Regulations of the sector, respect the chain of command and ensure timely planning.

He conveyed 6 performance pillars that the Minister of Education and Sports expects of National Sports Associations in the execution of their duties:
1. Transparency and Accountability
2. Set and lift respective targets
3. National Sports Associations that are Result and Action Oriented
4. Creativity and Innovation
5. Team work in the sports sector

The highly participatory forum had heads of National Sports Associations deliberate on sports issues and strategies geared towards the development of sports in Uganda with the following recommendations made;
1. Lobby for waiving of taxes on sports equipment.
2. Need to bridge the communication gap between NCS, UOC, Department of Physical Education and Sports and MoES.
3. Need to professionalize and position the sports industry.
4. Anti-doping matters should be considered across all sports disciplines.
5. Urgent consideration for construction of a new and larger indoor stadium to supplement the proposed two stadiums of Akii Bua and in Fortportal. A larger Indoor stadium shall provide for the increasing number of sports audience of indoor sports disciplines and consequently generate income for the respective National Sports Associations.
6. Have in place a comprehensive legal framework by fast tracking the Physical Activity and Sports Bill and review of the NCS Act of 1964. The legal expertise of heads of National Sports Associations should be brought on board.
7. Further streamline funds allocation across National Sports Associations basing on performance and adopt results accountability rather than paper accountability.
8. National Associations/ Federations should take the different sports disciplines to all regions and invest in talent identification. The FUFA Drum model can be adopted to have an integrated sports competition in all provinces of Uganda to leverage on its success, unearth talent and attract corporate sponsorship.
9. Need for good governance practices within the National Associations/ Federations.
10. Lobby for more government funding towards the sports sector.
11. Equally interest corporate companies to holistically partner with sports sector and sponsor sports activities for instance through broadcasting rights, advertising space etc.
12. Look towards resolving the matter of match fixing.
13. Offer more support to Paralympic sports by getting them classification and registering them into more international events.
14. Need for performance based funding especially when teams qualify.

Going forward, the Minister scheduled to pay courtesy visits to offices of all registered National Sports Associations and thereafter conduct a country wide tour to Sports Stadiums/Facilities. Equally, the next forum should discuss the draft Sports Funding Policy.

The Minister of Sports concluded the forum urging members to utilize the platform of the forum that will convene every three months to identify challenges and amicably propose solutions to leapfrog the sports sector.

Thursday, January 23, 2020