Rwanda: Women Football Clubs Criticise Ferwafa's 'Financial Decisions'

Women football clubs are accusing the local football governing body (FERWAFA) of taking decisions, most especially related to finances, which go against their wishes.

This follows Ferwafa's decision to take charge of all the expenses for clubs participating in the upcoming women's football league which is scheduled to resume soon.

On Friday, May 7, clubs delegated a team to meet FERWAFA and hold discussions on the possibility to resume the league, the dates, and covid-19 protocols proposed to smoothly hold the women's football league, among others.

The clubs were excited that the league would resume and Ferwafa had agreed to cater for all expenses regarding players' welfare during the league competitions including accommodation, transport and covid-19 test fees among others to ease clubs' financial burdens.

Times Sport understands that Ferwafa is ready to use Rwf300 million budget to successfully finance the women's football league, with each player set to cost the local football governing body at least Rwf 25 000 a day.

However, clubs' representatives don't understand why Ferwafa wants to handle all finance-related activities regarding players' welfare yet it is their responsibility. To them, Ferwafa should give them the money and they manage their teams accordingly.

Mark Ndarama, the president of Gisagara-based Youvia Women Football Club told Times Sport that Ferwafa is forcing clubs to accept the proposed plan to take charge of the financial management of funds allocated in facilitating clubs to resume the league or they will risk having the competition canceled again.

He said that clubs can instead use a part of the proposed budget on players' welfare, and then use the remainder in their football development projects.

"We are asking them where our clubs will be accommodated but they don't want to say anything. When you look at proposed expenses on each club during the whole competition, as presented during the last meeting, Ferwafa would spend at least Rwf 25 million on each club. But why can't they give us the money then we can manage it our way? I don't understand why they [Ferwafa] insist on managing the funds for us," Ndarama said.

"If men's clubs are managing their finances, why can't we manage it as well?" he added.

Each of the clubs that Times Sport spoke to seemed to have the same complaint.

Need for change

While women feel a commissioner in charge of women football development Ferwafa can play her role in women's football development, women football clubs have totally lost confidence in Christine Mukangoboka, who they thought would be advocating for them in a series of complaints that the clubs presented to Ferwafa.

The clubs accuse Mukangoboka of not taking note of their concerns and finding solutions for them. As a result, the clubs last weekend wrote a letter requesting her to resign since she cannot advocate for them.

"If you are there [in Ferwafa] representing women football clubs, you are supposed to be advocating for them. But if she sees problems happening to the clubs she represents and she doesn't play her part and act where we feel decisions are against our wishes, is she really fulfilling the responsibilities we voted for?" claims Louis Rurangirwa, the president of Rugende Women football club.

Regis Uwayezu, the Secretary-General of FERWAFA said no decision has been taken yet regarding the issues that women football clubs have but revealed that the governing football body's executive committee will take decisions based on discussions held between clubs and the federation.

"We had a meeting with some officials representing women football clubs involved and we discussed how the women football league can resume in a smooth way and convenient way. Both sides shared ideas and the executive committee will communicate the decisions soon,"

So far, 12 twelve teams, five from second divisions and seven from the first division are reportedly expected to be pooled in groups and play a topflight league which will see representatives for next season's CAF women champions' league competition.

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