THE LONG wait for a newly proposed women’s football league is almost over!
The SA Football Association will finally launch the eagerly awaited women’s league at their headquarters in Joburg this week.
There is excitement everywhere as women’s football dream will finally be realised with the inaugural 12 team league starting on 24 August. But it will cost Safa a staggering R120 million per season to run the women’s league.
The newly appointed Arts, Sports and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa and his department pledged a fat cheque of R50 million towards the costs of running the new league. MEC for Arts, Sports and Culture in Gauteng Mbali Hlophe, has also pledged a couple of undisclosed millions.
Safa has been given R10 million from the 2010 Fifa World Cup Legacy trust to run the league.
Safa has also received pledges from other provinces and it’s all systems go.
The new league consists of nine provincial winners from the Sasol League, plus the Mamelodi Sundowns, Bloemfontein teams and University Sport South Africa (USSA) ladies teams.
There won’t be relegation for the first two seasons, while two teams from lower leagues will be promoted in the first two years.
But Mthethwa warned Safa that he does not want to commit money to something that will fail.
Mthethwa said: “I warned Safa that we are not going to give them huge amounts of money and not see results. They must compile a report to me about how the league will be operated. This league must be sustainable it must progress. Yes, we are giving them R50 million but we want them to guarantee us that it’s going to be a success.”
Safa vice-president Ria Ledwaba said the league is going to happen and nothing will stand in organisations’ way.
Ledwaba said: “We will have a festival in the first weekend where all the twelve teams will come to Gauteng.
“The minister has committed in writing that he is giving us R50 million, the legacy trust gave us R10 million and the MEC in Gauteng has also committed her millions and the other MEC’s in three provinces have committed in writing.”
Ledwaba also assured the minister that Safa will make it work and that it won’t be a one season wonder.
She added: “We have to celebrate women’s football and we are calling on corporate companies to assist us with sponsorships.”
MEC Hlophe confirmed that she has met with Safa’s high ranking officials and agreed on how much she will contribute towards the league.
Hlophe said: “Yes, I met with Safa officials and want to help them to professionalise women’s football. For the league to survive it needs R120 million per year. Gauteng will cough up couple of million but won’t declare how much though Safa knows the figures.”