Govt spending cap on sports hurting local football clubs

Monday January 7 2019


Local football clubs will suffer from reduced funding. PHOTO | FILE 

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The government’s decision to reduce spending on some sports activities has limited football clubs’ access to funding.

During a local government retreat in March 2018, the government directed that spending on sports activities be focused on talent development.

Expenditure on some sports activities was capped at Rwf60 million, which has seen many sports facilities — whose operations are subsidised by the government — struggle to stay afloat.

Rwanda Today has learnt that the government has slashed its spending on sports activities by over Rwf1.5 billion.

The funds are channelled through local government levels to over 11 football clubs out of 16 clubs that are currently playing the first division of the Azam sponsored premier league as well as the Gisagara Volleyball club, which is currently playing the first division.

“Our budget has been slashed from Rwf170 million to Rwf60 million,” said Emmanuel Rukesha, the secretary-general of Espoir Football club, which is supported by Rusizi district. He added that the club’s management is engaging different stakeholders to secure financial commitments to bridge the funding gap.

“Despite using local players from the district, the cost of running the team during an entire season still costs more than Rwf60 million,” said Mr Rukesha.

The government said the funding priorities for sports were modified to include more sports other than football.

Own revenue

“The resolution was trying to address the inequality in the way districts spend on sports. The government is not able to determine the universal flat stock for sports spending, yet it is based on how much revenue a district has collected,” said Joseph Curio Havugimana, the Information, Education and Communication officer at the Ministry of Local Government.

Based on the government’s resolutions, local clubs should be recruiting local players to avoid high expenses.

However, the funding shortfalls have been worse for teams that represent the country in international competitions, whose costs were initially paid for by the state.

According to the country’s football federation, some clubs are unlikely to finish or participate in training and competitions due to financial constraints.