Lesotho’s Kick4Life FC break new ground in Women’s football

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Lesotho’s Women Super League (WSL) side Kick4Life FC are set to become the ‘first top-flight club in the world’ to pay their women’s team the same as their men’s team, competing in the Lesotho Premier League (LPL).

The groundbreaking move will kick in ahead of the 2020/2021 Lesotho football season.

As a Southern African top division club committed to ‘gender-equal budgets’, Kick4Life FC describes itself as “the world’s first football club exclusively dedicated to social change.

“As a charity and a social enterprise our mission is to transform the lives of vulnerable young people in Lesotho and in doing so promote long-term sustainable development in the Mountain Kingdom,” – Kick4Life.

Steve Fleming, co-founder of Kick4Life FC, said that they hope to spark a change across Africa that will help level the playing field for women in football.

“As a club dedicated to social change, we can no longer justify being complicit in a global sports industry that puts opportunities for men ahead of women,” said Fleming.

“And we believe that by changing things on the football pitch, we can more effectively pursue gender equality in all areas of life – at home, in school, in relationships and in the workplace.

“We hope this sends out a message to the wider football industry. We believe it is not only the right thing to do it, but it will advance the club on and off the pitch,” added Fleming.

“It will strengthen our identity locally and internationally, and we are looking for a headline sponsor for next season to help us make this transition a big success.”

The Kick4Life women’s team was founding members of the Lesotho Super League and picked up the club’s first major honour in 2018 winning the Women’s Super League Cup. The Lesotho Football Association has been affiliated with FIFA and the Confederation of African Football since 1964. Picture: Kick4Life. 

Kick4Life is playing an important part in supporting the growth of women’s football in Lesotho and Fleming stated that they are that Lewes FC in the United Kingdom (UK) are the first football club in the world to commit to gender-equal budgets but they compete in the second tier of women’s football in England – Women’s Championship.

“Obviously, they’re not a top top-flight club but we’ve been in touch with them and they’ve confirmed that they’re not aware of any other clubs either topflight or below that have made the same move.

“We’ve also researched extensively before making the announcement. We’re confident that we are the first topflight club in the world to make that move and certainly we hope that others will follow in future,” stated Fleming.

Based in the capital city of Maseru, Kick4Life’s Women’s team manager and player Maphoka ‘Puky’ Ramokoatsi believes that the commitment shown by the club to pay end pay inequality based on gender will be an inspiration to the football community, not only in Lesotho but across the globe.

“I feel very proud to be part of the first top-flight club to have gender-equal investment. We will be an inspiration to the football community in Lesotho and globally,” said Ramokoatsi.

“But it is also a natural move for us to make after several years of using football to challenge gender discrimination and empower women and girls,” – Ramokoatsi. Picture: Kick4Life. 

“I know first-hand the positive role that football can play. When I first came to Kick4Life as a participant I was a victim of gender-based violence. Ten years later and I am helping to change the lives of others and leading a topflight women’s team,” concluded Ramokoatsi.

Maggie Murphy, General Manager of Lewes FC in the UK said: “For three years, we at Lewes FC have had the unfortunate honour of being the first and only club in the world to split revenue equally and provide equal budgets for our men’s and women’s teams.

“We are delighted that Kick4Life FC have matched this, as it’s evidence of their future-focused, football for all, vision.

 We look forward to their ongoing success on and off the pitch and one day, perhaps we will meet for a game,” – Murphy. Picture: Lewes FC

Four-time World Champions, United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) have been at the forefront for equal pay in football, with public outcry led by Megan Rapinoe along with Norway and Olympique Lyon star, Ada Hegerberg.

While in South Africa, African football legend Portia Modise has been an advocate for equality through football, speaking out on the lack of pay equity and discrimination on wages based on gender in women’s sport.

RELATED STORY: Lewes FC calls for broadcast of women’s football

By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi 

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