The Uganda Chess team could miss featuring in the 44th Olympiad scheduled for 28th July to 10th August 2022 in Chennai, India over inadequate funds to facilitate the team’s preparations and travel arrangements.
The development was confirmed by Uganda Chess Federation (UCF) President Eng. Emmanuel Mwaka in a crisis presser held Tuesday at Lugogo Tennis Courts hotel in Kampala.
Mwaka says the federation needs to raise at least USD100,000 (Shs 371,460,000) to cater for the Men and Ladies teams confirmed for the prestigious global event and hence appealed for urgent intervention from the government and the private sector.
The aforementioned funds are meant for registration of the entire team, securing tickets (to and from), insurance, accommodation, feeding and allowances.
“Uganda Chess Federation has not been funded in the last financial year and this situation has been happening for many years because we only got 30 million in the last five years. The people in the federation are able people and have been working,” Mwaka said.
“However, due to the economic recession that we have, the level of inflation is very high and we are unable to fund such a bigger tournament and that’s why we are saying government should come through because the budget has been increased and the federation doesn’ t have money. We can’t use private resources to fund government events,” he added.
According to UCF, team Uganda is meant to travel on the 27th July so the money is needed urgently to secure slots with the airlines.
“The Olympiad is going to run back to back with the Commonwealth and this is an opportunity to raise Uganda’s flag. The funds are needed urgently and we are calling out our government not to break the sport, otherwise they will have condemned us to raise money through processes that could be demeaning to our stars in the game,” Mwaka noted.
He further stated that they are contemplating resorting to demeaning alternatives such as car wash fundraising campaigns if the government fails to intervene before Saturday 9th.
“NCS Officials have overly been engaged, we submitted the Olympiad as a priority event and currently government ring-fenced money for chess and we call upon the people in these positions to release these monies urgently before ticket prices are out of reach. The team is training in camp and needs money. We can’t be grappling to this extent when we are one of the powerhouses on the continent,” he said.
For the first time, chess was ring fenced 200m because of the excellent performances on the continent and beyond though rumor has it that NCS says it’s Shs.89m instead.
“However, we are grateful that these funds have come specifically for chess and that’s a good starting point. But we attend not less than 15 international events annually and our performance is overly very good. So we are calling upon all those who fund sports in the country to look at excellence,” Mwaka said.
He was flanked by federation General secretary Patrick Ojok, International Arbiter Kimera Innocent, Technical Director Tebandeke Jordan, treasurer Matsiko Ezekiel, national coach FIDE Master (FM) Harold Wanyama, FM Harunah Nsubuga, WFM Gloria Nansubuga, WCM Shakira Ampaire and Milly Takali.
The 44th Olympiad was initially due to take place in Khanty-Mansiysk before FIDE moved the event to India following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.