NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – Coca Cola has withdrawn its famous name from what was formerly Nyayo National Stadium following a meeting between the government and the soft drinks manufacturer. The stadium will now revert to its old name ‘Nyayo National Stadium’ after the soft drink manufacturer pulled the plug on its three year Sh118 million deal.
The multi national issued a statement on Tuesday evening saying that though they respect the stadium as a national landmark, their brand name cannot exist with the word ‘Nyayo’ due to the fact they represent totally different entities.
“In this regard, co-existence of Coca-Cola and Nyayo would not be possible, because although both brands are strong in their own right, they represent diverse propositions. For this reason, Coca-Cola and SSMB (Stadia Management Board) have mutually disagreed on a point of principle,” says the statement.
“Further, The Ministry of Sports through the SSMB has requested us to go against the spirit and letter of our legal agreement. The proposed position put forward by the SSMB – to co-brand the stadium with its current and former names – amounts to a unilateral breach of the contract and while Coca-Cola reserves its rights there under we are forced to suspend the further performance of our obligations under the contract,” the statement adds.
Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Professor Helen Sambili said on Tuesday that her office was not kept in the loop in regard to how the deal was carried out and that it will be renegotiated through the proper channels.
“During that meeting it was agreed that Coca Cola they will withdraw as par the brief from my permanent secretary and that want to have their money back,” said Sambili who was speaking at the inauguration of the new SSMB board at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Sambili pointed out that all was not last saying that Coca Cola are free to bid for naming rights in the future as long as proper consultations were carried out.
“We respect Coca Cola because they do a lot for sport in this country, but we also respect our nation and we must protect its history,” said the Mogotio Member of Parliament.
Sambili also took SSMB chairman Joe Aketch to task over the awarding of the rights which led to a brief exchange between both parties.
“This deal (stadium naming rights) was done singularly by the chairman and the former chief executive,” said Sambili.
Aketch was quick to defend himself saying that his fellow board members can vouch for him on his role in the deal.
“I have to disagree madam minister even if its going to make me lose my job. I have the board and your representatives here, and there is no way I would have done it on my own. That is a very unfortunate statement,” said Aketch.
Last month Sambili expressed her reservations with the deal stating that it was eroding the legacy of the country and those who had sacrificed a lot for this country.
Sambili urged the new board to carry out their mandate in a diligent manner and to concentrate more on developing sports facilities outside Nairobi.
The board consists of former world marathon record holder and peace activist Tegla Loroupe, Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat and Kenya National Sports Council member Joshua Okuthe.
Other members include new chief executive Benjamin Sogomo, Lucy Gitundu, Jackline Muindi, Manga Muge, Francis Njuguna, and Nesmus Ngunjiri.