Double-licensing is when one player is registered, and or plays for two different teams in any competition(s) organised by the same federation. It can be illegal! And highly punishable with huge fines and lengthy bans if found guilty of the practice.
Normally, double registration can only be justified, or be considered legal under a special arrangement referred to as ‘loaning’, where a player of one club is offered to another club for a specified period of time, but remains a player of his parent club, though can’t also represent it for that specified period of time. The parent club reserves the right to recall their player at any given time, as regulated by the football governing body.
In Uganda, the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) has, not entirely, but only under special considerations, legalized double licensing.
Inducted into a regulation just weeks ago, the new arrangement provides for a player in either one of the top two divisions to bear licenses for two teams and be in line to simultaneously feature for both clubs in a single campaign, including his parent club, and another lower league team.
So similar to the ‘loaning’ arrangement, the big difference with FUFA’s double-licensing plan is that a player can simultaneously play for two clubs (though in different leagues) but organised by the same federation.
For instance, URA FC players Bruno Bunyaga and Ronald Andabati featured for Kiyinda Boys on Sunday in the FUFA Big League, returned to their club after losing 3-1 to Kyetume FC, and will now also be available for URA’s selection against Bright Stars on Thursday in the Uganda Premier League.
Jinja-based top flight side BUL FC’s Gerald Ogweti and Shafik Kwikiriza have been offered to second division club Mbale Heroes under the same double-licensing arrangement.
In a related development, FUFA Big League side Police FC announced that Shafiq Magogo (son to FUFA president Moses Magogo) will play for them in the Big League, as he also continues serving his Kitara FC in the Uganda Premier League.
Another Big League side, Kataka FC revealed that they offered five of their players to three different third division teams; Stephen Namaisi and Usama Khayemba to UCU, Muhammad Biafulo and Ronald Mwokye to Amus College, and Markus Aka to Mbale Garage. The three will be legible to represent any one of the two teams in their respective FUFA organised competitions at any given time, when the parent club deems it possible.
Other clubs have just been reluctant to reveal information regarding their double-licensed players, but it is an arrangement that has been widely embraced and utilised by clubs across Uganda.
Was Introducing The Double-license Necessary?
FUFA president, Moses Magogo explained that before making it functional, it was first considered that the new arrangement will work for the better, especially in terms of developing players who rarely get playing time at their clubs.
First of all, double-licensed players, unless it’s on special consideration, shall not be allowed to play in the same league and a game involving both teams.
“The Primary and Secondary owners shall not belong to the same league division,” FUFA sternly clarified.
“Whenever the Primary Owners and Secondary owners are to play each other in FUFA official match, the Double Players shall be ineligible to play for either side.”
“FUFA may accept to register a player on a double license in a special and exceptional circumstance upon request by the intending Primary Owner.”
Who Qualifies For The Double License?
Not all players qualify for the double licence; only players not above 21 years of age will be legible for two licenses, termed ‘Double Players’.
“Only a player, whose 21st or earlier than 21st birthday takes place during the season for which he is intended to be licensed, is eligible for duo-licensing,” as explained by FUFA.
“Foreign Players DO NOT qualify for Double License registration,” FUFA has warned!
Only teams in the first and second divisions that is the Uganda Premier League and the FUFA Big League can double-license their players.
What The Club’s Should/Shouldn’t Do
A player can only be double-licensed to a league lower than the one their parent club is participating in; For instance, a player in the Premier League can be double-licensed to a team in the Big League or the regional league, as a Big League player can only be licenced to a regional league club.
Accordingly, a single team will be required to have a maximum of five duo-licenced players, and they could all feature in a single game, should they be available.
FUFA further explains that: “A Club shall register not more than five (5) player Double Players as a Secondary Owner.”
“Whenever available for selection, Secondary Owners (the team that has acquired a duo-licenced player) shall include all acquired Double Players on the Match Day.”
“Whenever a Secondary Owner plays a FUFA Official match, at any one time during that match, there shall be at least two (2) Double Players among the players on the pitch.”
FUFA also guided that secondary owners of Double Players shall be expected to field these players for at least 70% of their matches.
For How Long Can A Player’s Double-License Last?
The double license expires after just a few months; FUFA states that double licenses can only go for a particular half of the season, and only after renewal can a player stay at that club they were loaned to.
“A double license shall be issued for a minimum of half a season and shall automatically expire at the beginning of the next player registration window unless renewed,” FUFA states.
The FUFA regulation also guides that renewal shall only be permitted to the same secondary club within a season.