Groningen football club Forward, the Netherlands’ oldest student football association, is in danger of losing its committee grants. The reason is that the association excludes women.
FSAVV Forward currently has the right to twenty months of committee grants. But after a new evaluation by CUOS, the organisation that advises the UG on awarding the grants, the club no longer meets the criteria.
One of the criteria states that associations should welcome all students registered at the UG or Hanze University of Applied Sciences. However, the football association doesn’t allow women. Since the university prioritises diversity and inclusion, that kind of policy is no longer allowed.
But at the committee meeting preceding the university council meeting, it turned out that not everyone thinks this kind of reasoning is obvious. Studentenorganisatie Groningen faction chair Johannes Hütten thinks the measure is ‘particularly severe to just implement all at once’.
‘It’s a considerable cultural change, that I certainly support. But I don’t expect it to happen all at once.’
He also wonders if cancelling committee grants is the right method to bring about this cultural change. ‘I’d prefer talking to the clubs.’
Rules are clear
But student-assessor Adnan El Kharbotly made no bones about it. ‘If an association simply doesn’t allow any women, then our rules are clear: they do have to accept people of the female gender.’
UG president Jouke de Vries also emphasised that the university ‘can’t propagate central values such as diversity and inclusion and then exclude half or even more of the world’s population’.
Personnel faction chair Dinie Bouwman added: ‘They’re free to only play football with men, but then they simply won’t receive any public funds. It’s 2022.’
In addition to FSAVV Forward, kitesurfing association Released will also be losing its committee grants. The association didn’t organise anything except a general meeting, which isn’t enough to warrant a grant.
Other associations have reason to celebrate. Frisian association Bernlef has been awarded ten months’ worth of grants over the course of the next three years. Korfball association Parabool and tennis club Released have each been awarded four months’ worth of grants, swimming association De Golfbreker gets seven and cycling club Tandje Hoger gets eight.
The university council will cast a definitive vote on the grants on Thursday.