AFC, Gor Mahia and KRU to Withdraw from Championships as Sportpesa Terminates Sponsorship

Local clubs that were beneficiaries of SportPesa’s sponsorship will be worst hit as the giant betting company announced termination of the same.

This comes after the government imposed a 35 percent tax on all gambling revenues.

portPesa CEO Ronald Karauri announced the betting company has terminated all local sponsorship

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri announced the betting company has terminated all local sponsorship due to the 35 percent tax levied on gambling revenues. Photo: Courtesy

Local clubs that were beneficiaries of SportPesa’s sponsorship, including AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia, have lamented the move, noting that they cannot do without the money.

AFC leopard’s chairman Dan Mule lamented termination of SportPesa sponsorship, noting that the betting company shouldered up to 75 percent of the club’s financial obligations, including player and support staff salaries.

Mule continued to state that the club will be forced to withdraw from continental assignments if it does not get another source of funds.

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier this afternoon announced that the club will also withdraw from continental assignments because they cannot meet financial responsibilities associated with the same without SportPesa funds.

The Kenyan clubs risk fines and sanctions from CAF if they do not grace continental championships.

The Kenya Rugby Union, beneficiaries of SportPesa sponsorship, has also voiced its financial vulnerability following the termination.

In an official statement, the KRU called upon the government to step in and provide support to ensure national rugby teams participate in regional and international tournaments.

The KRU calendar for 2018 includes Under 20 Rugby Africa Championships in April, HSBC Women’s Sevens Worl Series in Hong Kong, Commonwealth games and Women’s Africa 7s in September.

The national 15s side (Simba) is scheduled to play in the Africa Gold Cup, which will also double up as Africa qualifiers for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The national 7s side (Shujaa) is scheduled to participate in World Series from now to May, Commonwealth games in April and the Rugby 7s World Cup in July.

It is clear that SportPesa has been playing a laudable role in supporting local sports through sponsorship deals that span the local sporting industry including but not limited to football, rugby, boxing and basketball.

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It is therefore mandatory that stakeholders either resolve the impasse or the government steps in and takes over financing local sport as guided by the Sports Act.

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