Why Ugandan Referees Keep Officiating For Free


medical geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>While referees cry verbally in the media over unpaid allowances, order it’s almost impossible to refuse officiating the matches assigned to them.

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In the Uganda Cup game between Ndejje University and Victoria University two weeks back, referees came late but still, they were ready to officiate.

So, our question is: why can’t referees leave their work temporarily and influence the federation to pay their allowances?

Here are some of the reasons:

Influence of FIFA budges holder referees

Uganda has only four FIFA referees and the amount they receive after officiating international games forces those who hold FUFA budges to push on with the job hoping that one day, they will get hold of FIFA budges too.

Divisions amongst referees

It may not be easy for more than 30 referees to come out with a common decision of boycotting FUFA games.

Fear of being blacklisted by FUFA

FUFA has the authority via it’s arm of Referees’ Committee to name the referees to shake up the refereeing group.

If a referee demands his/her allowance by staging a strike, chances are high that such a referee will miss on the internal and external elite referee’s courses.

It is these courses that elevate the referee’s status.

Relationship between referees and federation officials

Some of the referees are close friends to FUFA officials and any refusal to officiate because of unpaid dues would amount to betrayal.

This keeps the referees waiting year and year without being paid but continuing with their job.

Refereeing is not a profession

Referees have other jobs; some are police officers, teachers and so on, so they don’t entirely rely on allowances from FUFA.

Money from FUFA is simply an additional income.

Free transport

Referees at times travel with teams to wherever the game will be played. And since they don’t incur costs in transport, the allowance delays wouldn’t pinch much.

However, sometimes, they have to travel at their own cost.


Referees at times receive “illegal money” from team officials who ask them to officiate in favour of their teams.

This amount almost doubles the allowance they get from the federation.

Ali Tomusange, the only Ugandan to have officiated in World Cup said that “referees receive payments to officiate unfairly but one who does that tarnishes his integrity.”

Charles Masembe, the only Ugandan who officiated the African Nations Cup finals, says, “failure to pay referees will always affect the sector of referees in the country. They can’t officiate fairly hence the continental football body can’t select Ugandan referees as such.”

As already noted, our referees have been attending the referees’ elite course and fitness tests in big numbers yet their pockets are still empty.


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