03 August 2012

UGANDA : Fuba takes Lugogo arena fight to streets

In an unprecedented move in Ugandan basketball, governing body Fuba and the basketball fraternity plan to vent their frustrations over being blocked from using the Lugogo arena by demonstrating through the streets of Kampala today, writes Felix Eupal. Like a love affair gone bad, Fuba and former main sponsors MTN have become arch enemies.
Last Friday MTN locked out Fuba from using the Lugogo arena over what Sheila Mugisha – the MTN Facilities manager – termed as Fuba’s substandard hoops that could ‘damage the arena floor. It’s only come to light that MTN, the main financiers of Lugogo’s recent refurbishment, hold the final say over who should use the arena.
The fallout between the two parties stems from Fuba’s recent acquisition of Airtel as league sponsors thereby ending MTN’s eight-year partnership. Things have since turned ugly. While disciplines like volleyball and kickboxing are allowed to use the venue, basketball was denied that opportunity last Friday.
Now the federation president Ambrose Tashobya has petitioned the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi as well as the Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga in an effort to get redress. They have also put fourth five major demands which, if not fulfilled by MTN and NCS in 48 hours, the federation has threatened legal action.
Among the demands, which The Observer has seen, Fuba demands immediate access to the arena on top of full disclosure of the terms and conditions of MTN’s sponsorship agreement with NCS. However, in what seems like going for the jugular, Fuba has demanded Shs 1bn in compensation for last Friday’s ‘embarrassment, inconvenience, loss and damage.’ NCS and MTN had not responded to any of the demands by press time and whether they will fulfill the demands is one thing but the stage is set for a long tug of war.

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