Bugesera District has reduced their annual sponsorship budget to topflight football league side Bugesera FC by 33.3 per cent starting with the 2018/2019 season.
The district’s budget to the club will be trimmed from Rwf60m to Rwf40m.
According to the district mayor, Richard Mutabazi, the reduction in sponsorship was adopted by the district council this financial year.
“It is in line with the advice from the Ministry of Local Government for districts to reduce sports budget and raise private sector involvement into sports,” he said.
He added that the new initiative will increase ownership among sports fans and win over private investment in the end.
“The district budgeted Rwf60 million for all sports activities this financial year, of which Rwf40m will be for the football club,” Mutabazi explained, adding that they are generally “worried about how the team will make it through the championship with a small budget but their hands are tied.”
However, he also revealed that some strategies they think will help them make ends meet.
Putting recruitments on hold
Mutabazi says the team has ceased recruiting new players for the 2018/2019 season and reduced salaries and wages of players who were earning higher.
“Those who have been earning a lot were asked to accept a pay cut. Those who didn’t agree with the pay cut were given the green light to leave,” he said.
A squad of 28 players has already been drawn up, of whom 14 were with the team last season while the other 14 were recruited from youth centres and schools around the district, according to Mutabazi.
“High-profile recruitment is so desirable but unfortunately sometimes we are short of funds, and you can’t afford the best players. But with time, our new strategy for fund mobilisation,” he said.
Mutabazi explained that they will continue with the strategy of minimising expenses and mobilising the involvement of the private sector.
‘Private investment promising’
“We already have a sponsor, the Safe Gas. They signed a deal with the team to be injecting Rwf3 million a month which will increase with the increase in returns of the company” he said.
Mutabazi promised that the team will not fail due to funding but rather all willing residents of Bugesera will be encouraged and availed with platforms to support the team.
The former Peace Cup semi-finalists will be up against Marines FC in their Azam Rwanda Premier League opener at Umuganda Stadium, in Rubavu District, on Sunday.