Kenyan teams forced to the drawing board after chief sponsor cancels all contracts
Already, 2017 Kenya Premier League (KPL) champions, Gor mahia FC have said they will withdraw from their continental assignments following the sponsorships cuts.
Kenyan’s teams have been left high and dry after Kenya’s biggest betting firm; SportPesa cancelled all local sponsorships with immediate effect.
This is after high court failed to consider their appeal on the heavy tax burden.
Sportpesa, sponsors a number of teams in the country, and with its pull out many teams have been left in a quagmire not knowing what to do.
Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier in a statement said the move was shortsighted and would plunge the sporting fraternity into chaos.
“While we are appreciative of the fact that the government wants to set up a sports fund with the increased revenue from these companies, we are wary of implementation and modalities of this fund.
It is for this reason that we would like to implore the government to rethink this move which will be more harmful than helpful. Gor Mahia has been through thick and thin over the years. Before SportPesa came into the picture, we struggled. This is an open secret. We went from selling bread to raise funds for the club to remain operational and pay players’ salaries, to setting up an M-Pesa PayBill number.”
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), another entity which used to be sponsored by SportPesa is in disarray.
“The KRU has received with great dismay the cancellation of it’s partnership with SportPesa. SportPesa has been a key partner in our planning and growth and has supported our sport at every level. The cancellation of this contract forces us to completely reexamine our structures and we immediately call upon the government to step into the breach and provide the necessary support as guided by the Sports Act.” It said in a statement.
Sport Pesa pull out risks messing with their sports calendar which would result in Kenyan teams getting penalized and worse banned.
Kenya Rugby Union 2018 calendar for instance, includes the Rugby Africa Championships for U20s in April, Lionesses participation at the HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series qualifiers in Hong Kong and as well as the Commonwealth Games, and the Women’s Africa Cup 7s in September.
Simba, Kenya’s National 15s team is excepted to play in the Africa Gold Cup which in 2018 will serve as the African qualifiers for the 2019 Rugby World Cup with Rugby World Cup qualification this year while Shujaa, the National 7s team is supposed to take part in the World Series between January and May, participates in the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April as well as the Rugby 7s World Cup in San Francisco in July.
Sports fans and ordinary Kenyans also took to social media to condemn the government move which they termed as unpopular and out to harm the Kenyan youth who are jobless and depend on sports to make a living.
Until its pullout, Sportpesa were the official sponsors of Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Sportpesa Super 8, Kenya Harliquins, the Kenya Boxing team, Nakuru All Stars, Kenya Rigby Union and Football Federation of Kenya.
SportPesa currently has partnerships with four English football clubs - Hull City,Arsenal, Southampton, and Everton. It is the main shirt sponsor for Hull and Everton.
It is not yet clear what is SportPesa next move is? with its exit on the Kenyan sports arena would it shift its focus on English Premier league or adopt a wait and see attitude, only time would tell.
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