Rwanda: Covid-19 - How Top-Flight Clubs Are Financially Coping After Pandemic

1 February 2021

The Ministry of Sports on December 11 suspended the 2020/21 Rwanda Premier League season indefinitely after just three match days, having found that some players and clubs had violated covid-19 guidelines, which resulted in new cases.

And, following the ongoing spike in Covid-19 infections and rise in death toll, players and coaches left their camps to stay with their families at home as the fate of the premier league return remains far from predictable.

With the Premier League now suspended until further notice, some clubs have already pronounced their decisions on the state of their finances, hence considering to either put their staff on furlough while others imposed pay cuts as they continue to monitor the fate of the league return.

There is another 'small' number of clubs, however, which are still committed to paying staff their full wages until the league resumes.

Only players of APR FC, Police FC and Marines are assured of taking home their full monthly wages until the premier league returns while, AS Kigali didn't say whether they are thinking of pay cuts for their staff as the club administration said their main focus is seeing off Tunisian side, CS Sfaxien, in the final round of the CAF Confederation Cup which will make them reach the group stages for the first time in the club's history.

AS Kigali travel to Tunisia for the first leg on February 14 before hosting the return leg two weeks later in Kigali.

Moreover, Rutsiro FC and Mukura VC and Musanze FC have continued to pay their staff as usual. However, things could change should the premier league delay to return.

On the other side, some clubs have started to suffer financial setbacks and hence decided to temporarily lay off their staff while others agreed to revise their payroll and consider salary pay cuts until the league returns.

Temporary layoffs

Mumena-based Kiyovu, which lost club legend Abdu Seburengo last week, became the first top-flight club to suspend working contracts of all its employees, including players and coaches, until the Rwanda Premier League resumes.

The club's management, however, pledged to keep helping its employees during the pandemic as long as the resources are available and further said they will reinstate staff to the payroll as soon as they are back to work.

AS Muhanga, meanwhile, has decided to pay its staff half of their monthly wages for the month of January as the club awaits the fate of the league.

Things could, however, go from bad to worse after the club announced temporary suspension for all the staff from February until the premier league gets clearance to resume.

On the other hand, Etincelles and Espoir suspended salaries for their players and other staff from January while Gasogi United's Kakooza Nkuriza Charles has reportedly suspended wages for the club's players until the league returns.

He, however, vowed to help them with living allowances as long as resources are available.

Salary deduction

Cash-strapped Rayon Sports is also among clubs that imposed salary pay cuts until the premier league is given green light to resume.

Last week, the Blues announced a salary deduction of 30% for all its staff.

Premier League newcomers Gorilla FC have, on the other hand, opted to deduct salaries of its staff by half, starting with January, until the league returns. The decision was taken after the club held talks with the staff.

"The staff is aware of that and the agreement was reached amicably," confirmed club president Hadji Mudaheranwa.

The remaining clubs including Sunrise FC, Bugesera FC, and Musanze could declare their financial positions after a cabinet meeting slated to be held early this week.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

Follow https://twitter.com/@Eddie_250

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