How Disgusting! SAFA’s #SasolLeague Women’s Football Teams haven’t Received Their 2017 Grants By Cheryl Roberts

6 Sep

 

Women’s football in South Africa is struggling for recognition and support, especially the formation of a national professional league for women footballers. As if that’s not enough, the little support the women’s game gets from a corporate sponsor, hasn’t this year found it’s way to the clubs/teams that keep women’s football going.

Get this! Teams in regions playing Sasol League competitions haven’t received their 2017 grants allocated to them from the Sasol sponsorship. This, despite the Sasol League already having entered it’s second round of competition.

I wa shocked to hear last weekend, when I was on the football field how teams in the Western Cape hadn’t received their grants and their kit. I then stated an opinion about this on social media and was subsequently informed how the situation is the same in KZN and Eastern Cape. Other teams from around South Africa informd me confidentially how they, too hadn’t gotten their money.

The question is: Who is responsible for the grants not being disbursed to the Sasol League teams? Has the sponsor Sasol paid the sponsorship to SAFA national? Has SAFA national received the sponsorship but not yet distributed the funds/grants?

We’ve just come through the month of August, known as women’s month in South Africa where women are the focus and thought about. In sport, too women in sport are mentioned as being taken care of and promised ‘bigger and better’ in SA sport.

But hold on! Why is women’s football being treated like this?

Women’s football teams throughout the country, playing in the Sasol Leagues are mostly administered by and kept afloat by a few volunteer officials and coaches. These volunteers use their personal time and money, in most scenarios, to keep girls, young women and women in the game. Now, just about 5 months after playing league matches in a structured competition organised by SAFA national and administered by SAFA’s regional structures, it has become public that the Sasol League women’s football teams are running on empty and at personal cost to the volunteer officials and coaches.

This is not fair. It’s an injustice to women’s football! There is a national corporate sponsorship associated with women’s football competition in SA. Where is the sponsorship money and kit?

This year is especially big for women’s football. SA is preparing girls and teenagers for world cup qualifying tournaments. It’s the clubs at regional level that must develop these players and surface the talent. How can the volunteers do this alone with no grants/funding coming their way?

Where is the sponsorship money? I ask again: Has SAFA national received the sponsorship from Sasol? As its already 5 months into Sasol League competition, surely Sasol can’t be holding back with the sponsorship? Surely Sasol doesn’t want their brand tarnished by them not paying the Sasol League grants? Why is SAFA not disbursing the grants; why is SAFA doing this to the women’s football teams?

When team representatives attend Sasol League meetings in their regions/provinces and enquire about their grants, they are told to keep quiet and not ask questions because women’s football can’t get sponsors and only Sasol is keen to sponsor women’s football. Yes, that’s true about there being no sponsors, except Sasol, for women’s football, at this juncture. But enquiring about your grant doesn’t mean you are ungrateful. You just want to know how much longer must you go on using personal money to keep women’s football going and growing when there’s a corporate sponsor associated with the competition that you are making ahppen!

I’m writing this because I hear and feel the frustration of those volunteers especially who help develop women’s football in SA. I’m writing and shouting out because this is injustice being done to women’s football in SA. I’m writing this because clubs are scared to speak out, terrified their talented players will be victimised by non-selection for national squads. I’m writing this and calling out SAFA national or Sasol (whomever is to blame), because there’s no organised voice for women’s football in SA; anyone speaking out against gender injustices in SAFA fear they could be disciplined.

No one wants to fight with SAFA. We all want women’s football to be supported and developed. So, where are the grants that should have been paid to Sasol League teams for the 2017 season? Who is hoding the money?

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