Uganda Cranes players have taken MTN Uganda to court over breach of contract for their image rights. The players want up to 342.3 million shillings from the mobile telephone company plus general damages for breach of contract and unfair benefit to MTN Uganda.
Through Pro-line Soccer Academy Limited who represented the players in 2007, an advertisement and promotional contract was signed for one year to the tune of 93 million shillings and 21.1 million shillings worth of Airtime. But MTN Uganda has reportedly continued to use the images of the players till today yet they did not renew the contract.
A copy of the agreement dated September 7, 2007 that was signed by Pro-line Soccer Academy and M/S OG Saatchi & Saatchi who represented MTN Uganda then, the promotion was meant to run for one year
However, through M/S Kigozi Ssempala, Mukasa Obonyo (KSMO) Advocates, the players have said the mobile telephone company breached the contract as it ran out in September 8, 2008. Through Pro-line Academy, the players say MTN have continued to use the advertising and promotional materials on the different media and in all its centres countrywide without payment of the usage fees agreed or any payment at all.
Pro-line lawyers further contend that MTN Uganda’s unilateral actions in taking benefit without consideration, would at the very least entitle the players through Pro-line to a claim for the would-be usage fees for the three years of a total of 342.3 million shillings. The players also ask for general damages for breach of contract and unfair benefit to MTN Uganda.
Although the two parties tried to settle the matter out of court as advised, they failed to reach an understanding. Court is yet to fix a date for hearing of the case.
However, MTN Uganda’s General Manager in charge of Legal and Corporate Services, Anthony Katamba, told URN on phone that they have a contract with FUFA to sponsor the Cranes and part of their deal is to use the images of players. Katamba said the Pro-line deal ended but the one with FUFA is still on and wonders why Mujib Kasule who is now in FUFA as a Vice President is the same person taking MTN to court. He further explained that it was surprising to see Pro-Line take them to court yet MTN Uganda supported them with over 200 million shillings to start up the Academy.
When contacted Kasule said MTN Uganda should not mix issues because they sponsored Pro-line and that was a good gesture, but the fact is that they breached a contract and should understand that. Mujib further explained that the matters went to court before he joined FUFA as Vice President in-charge of the League.
The former KCC and Cranes player also explained that MTN Uganda’s contract with FUFA does not allow them to use images of players to promote their products like they are doing.
Interestingly URN also discovered that MTN Uganda signed a contract with FUFA when the contract with Pro-line to manage the players was still running.