Women’s football in Algeria: The FAF democratizes sport

ALGIERS: Algeria, a country where football is a national sport, continues its momentum to democratize this sporting discipline for everyone, in particular by creating a women’s Ligue 1.

Indeed, the Federal Bureau of the Algerian Football Federation has, through a press release, taken the decision to set up a women’s section at the level of each Ligue 1 club.

Also according to the press release, the FAF declared that this decision is « applicable on an optional basis from the 2022/2023 season and becomes mandatory the following season, i.e. 2023/2024, in accordance with the regulations and the requirements of the new CAF specifications”.

Thus, the Algerian football federation also promises to set up a women’s section at the level of each football club.

The first Algerian women’s club to be awarded this professional women’s football license is the club of Affak Relizane, whose team is considered to be the best in the country.

Ten times champions of Algerian women’s football, the players have also twice won the title of champions of the Maghreb.

It should be noted that after having been an amateur championship for a long time, it was not until 2012 that women’s football in Algeria became semi-professional.

Wage inequalities

In 1997, when the civil war was raging in the country, Mr. Mouaz, some football enthusiasts and pioneers launched the women’s team Afak Relizane, one of the first in Algeria – which has more than ten today.

At the time, armed Islamists banned all women’s sport, despite a ministerial instruction calling on the contrary to encourage girls’ sporting activity.

In 2017, the players denounced the wage inequalities compared to male clubs, even if the Relizane club has dominated all national competitions in recent years.

A pride for the city admit some inhabitants. But when the girls play at home, few Relizanis come out to support them.

Afak Relizane players arrive at the stadium before a match (Photo, AFP).

« We do not finance a women’s football team in Relizane », lament several players disappointed to benefit from so little consideration when they excel in their field. Six of them play for the national team.

In the stadium car park, the contrast is striking between the luxurious men’s bus, in the colors of the sponsors, and the plain mini-bus of the players.

At the time, when they won a match, they received 1,500 dinars (10 euros), « a pittance » according to Mr. Mouaz.

For their last victory, the wali -prefect- received the girls to « honor them ». While they were hoping for a small financial gesture, they were offered a sports bag and a tracksuit.

« Everything has been done to break up this team but the love of football is stronger than retrograde spirits », sums up one of the founders of Afak Relizane.

The Afak Relizane therefore becomes the first professional women’s football team in the history of the country.

With this license, the club, founded almost thirty years ago, is one of the 33 African clubs that have benefited from this same privilege.

(With AFP).

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