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Clubs in biggest share of Tusker pie

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 6- Clubs are set to be the main beneficiaries of the bumper Sh170m sponsorship deal for the country’s top-flight competition that was officially rolled out as the Tusker Premier League on Thursday.

According to the agreement between the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) and brewers East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL), 70 percent of the sponsorship will filter directly to the 16 teams that constitute the championship.

“The deal runs for three years spread out into Sh55m, Sh57m and Sh58m but the emphasis is investing more into clubs to help the league grow,” said CEO Jack Oguda after the launch of the partnership in Nairobi.

The funding that came after protracted negotiations will see the league adopt a revamped logo in what constitutes the biggest sponsorship in Kenyan football history.

Speaking at the event held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, Sports Minister, Dr. Paul Otuoma reckoned the agreement will spur growth but urged KPL to seal loopholes regarding officiating and violence among fans.

“If I could point out a similar scenario from the English Premier League that has become so popular all over the world and it’s my hope that our football could finally become a family affair event,” he substantiated.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) chairman Sam Nyamweya took the opportunity to dispel the notion that his body had bad blood against the brewers over the ongoing tussle to host this year’s regional Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup.

EABL’s Uganda subsidiary has sponsored that country with the support of Cecafa to host the event that FKF is deadest to bring to Kenya with Nyamweya taking the matter to continental governing body CAF during their recent assembly in Seychelles.

“From the onset, let me make it clear that our relationship is very cordial since it’s not about money they bring but how the brand will uplift the standards,” the football boss declared.

Company managing director, Delvine Hansworth said they were renewing their commitment to the sport after his company forked out Sh110m to the national team, Harambee Stars last year.

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“This is a new era for Kenyan football after the unveiling of the new Stars coach and believe that the quality that we see the players in the nation will inspire a golden era,” added Hansworth whose firm also sponsors the Tanzania national team, Taifa Stars as well as the Uganda Super League under the brand, Bell.

The launch was witnessed by the chairpersons of the 16 teams participating in the league and their respective captains.

It follows the four year broadcasting deal with satellite television provider SuperSport agreed upon in 2008 that came with the benefits of financing the payment of referees’ allowances and funding club activities.

EABL pulled out of a similar plan in 2011 citing gross mismanagement and corruption within the federation and nearly collapsed with clubs’ surviving on shoestrings budget until the entry of SuperSport.

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