NAIROBI, Kenya, April 24 – If you are a Gor Mahia die hard fan, the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) needs you for funds to keep the club from going under due to a crippling cash crunch it finds itself in.
On Thursday, the club announced it was broke and launched a mobile phone pay bill number 350100 to mobilise their devoted Green Army faithful to raise monies keep K’Ogalo running after their three-year sponsorship deal with Tuzo lapsed last month.
It comes two days after Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) slapped the league champions who moved to the summit of the KPL on Wednesday with a 3-0 win over Muhoroni with a Sh118m tax lien as it continues to pursue a new sponsor.
Now operating without a sponsor who was paying players salaries amounting to Sh1.8m per month, K’Ogalo officials have been forced to depend on KPL broadcast rights holders SuperSport monies and gate collections to settle their monthly expenditure that runs to Sh4.5m per month.
“We are running out of money there is nothing to hide the fact is we don’t have money. So if we are not able to participate in the league simply because we cannot afford to fuel our bus for our away matches,
“If we don’t have money we cannot operate and that’s why I’m appealing to all well wishers, fans and friends of Gor to support the club financially through the playbill number to help us offset some of the most pressing bills, most important to see players salaries,” chairman Ambrose Rachier said whilst making the impassioned plea during the launch of the pay bill number.
To compound the situation, Brookside Dairies, the owners of the Tuzo brand have withheld March salaries after KRA wrote them a demand letter for back taxes as Gor officials scramble to avert disaster.
Other recurrent costs in danger of not being met in the ongoing cash woe include weekly travelling allowances and match bonuses for players and staff as well as running the secretariat.
“As you are aware KRA are claiming from us a huge figure of Sh118m and have moved to cripple us by serving our agencies notices to nearly all our financial sources.
“While we are taking appropriate action to address this unfortunate claim, we wish to send a passionate appeal to all K’Ogalo adherents to come forward and contribute generously before we soon come to a halt,” the chairman implored.
“KRA’s effort is to make sure we don’t receive money and we won’t be surprised if somebody comes at the gate to grab our entry collection because there is that deliberate effort to make sure we don’t obtain money and I’m wondering why Gor since no other club has been approached,” he claimed, ignoring the fact that archrivals AFC Leopards and Western Stima are on record settling their dues with the taxman.
“But at the moment we are making appropriate consultations before we decide to take action since the issue is having a negative impact on our potential sponsors,” the chairman added on the KRA issue.
According to Rachier this development will not affect the performance of the team despite not paying March salaries for staff including head coach Bobby Williamson, since they have held a meeting with the players and technical bench to inform them on financial constraints.
Meanwhile, his vice John Pesa, called upon the Green Army to maintain patience and allow the systems they have put in place to function and succeed.
“We are now getting some firms to sell our tickets and yet some fans misunderstand the process.
“Let us have issues that are tangible rather than having blame games that money is being stolen yet we have no funds, this is an area we are very concerned about because as you understand we don’t have a sponsor so we need to collect the money at the gate promptly and efficiently so that we can function well,” he noted.
Gor are perched at the top of the KPL log with 20 points, two ahead of Chemelil and Tusker who are jointly placed second after playing 10 rounds.