24 June 2020
Kick4Life women's team picked up the club's first major honour in 2018 winning the Women's Super League Cup
Kick4Life FC from Lesotho in the Southern Africa region has become the first top-flight football club in the world to announce equal budgets for its women's and men's football teams. The move will happen ahead of the 2020/2021 season.
Kick4Life's men's team currently compete in Lesotho's Econet Premier League and the women's team in the Lesotho Super League, the top divisions of the southern African nation’s Lesotho Football Association.
Steve Fleming, the British football enthusiast whose journey to co-founding the charity behind the club started with a sponsored 250-mile football dribble across Africa in 2005, said: "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.
"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.”
Kick4Life's Women's team manager Puky Ramokoatsi added: "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. 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.”
Puky also understands the vital role of organisations such as Kick4Life, a football club dedicated to social change, with football operations designed to support a wide range of health, education and gender programmes for young people in Lesotho.
These programmes include Girls United, which aims to support vulnerable girls and young women in tackling gender-based violence and promoting gender rights, as well as providing health education and life-skills development designed to empower participants to pursue their goals on and off the pitch.
“I know first-hand the positive role that football can play," she added. "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 top-flight women's team.”
Arianna Criscione, the Paris Saint-Germain’s Women’s team goalkeeper, said: “It's so exciting to see how far women have come in the game of football. And seeing a club like Kick4Life be one of the first to give equal pay to both their men and women's programs is refreshing.
"The club has already been an agent of change and example to many and this is just one more initiative that makes Kick4Life a step above the rest. I'm so happy to see this happening and I hope one day to go to Lesotho and see all of their amazing work in person.”
Kick4Life men's team were promoted to the Lesotho Premier League in 2014, where they have remained since. The women's team were 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.
To find out more about Kick4Life check ouT their website here: www.kick4life.org.
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