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Star Times splash Sh498.5m for Harambee

STARS-BOTSWANANAIROBI, July 2 – Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has entered into a five-year partnership with pay television company StarTimes worth Sh496.5m (USD5m).

The deal will see the firm acquire broadcast rights for all  national teams until 2019 with the exemption of FIFA World Cup, Afcon qualifiers and CHAN finals that are owned by SportFive.

Sh297.9m (USD 3m) will go towards broadcast while Sh198.9m (USD2m) is set aside for the kit of all national teams.

Speaking when launching the partnership on Thursday, StarTimes Sports Director, Gary Rathbone said they will only broadcast international friendlies, Olympics qualifiers and CHAN preliminaries.

“Our main focus is to develop football in Kenya. We are investing in Harambee Stars to help the team succeed. We will broadcast Saturday’s CHAN first round return leg against Ethiopia which will be available in Sports Focus channel.

“We have signed a deal with the federation and not an individual so if Nyamweya will be there or not we will still have the deal and we will be very careful to see the money goes to right places,” Rathbone declared.

“We dealt directly with FKF’s agents MP& Silva so it was up to the chairman to take the deal to the NEC members for approval. Our intention is to broadcast at least 15 matches a year,” he added.

However, FKF will be in violation of CAF broadcast rights should Saturday’s 2016 CHAN first round qualifier against Ethiopia be televised StarTimes.

In a letter dated July 1 from CAF addressed to FKF secretary general, Michael Esakwa, the continental body spells out the scope of all broadcast rights pertaining to their sanctioned competitions and qualifying matches stressing any other agreement is contrary to the agreement signed by member nations.

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But FKF president, Sam Nyamweya said they have not violated any CAF or FIFA broadcast rights.

“We know exactly what we are doing, we know what we own. StarTimes is one of the largest cooperates and they know their line. They are not going to pop into other people’s life.

“The national team is not about Sam Nyamweya or Robert Asembo (vice president), the national team belongs to Kenya and we are not going to stop our mandate of supporting our national team,” he stressed.

Nyamweya further said the federation will negotiate with FIFA and CAF to acquire the rights that will see their media partner televise World Cup and Afcon qualifiers.

“We will still negotiate with FIFA and CAF on the other qualifications because we are members, hope they will give us a leeway to move further than the sponsorship that we have now,” Nyamweya added.

Despite Nyamweya announcing the deal also includes Cecafa broadcast rights, Rathbone moved swiftly to clarify, saying they don’t have the rights since pay television SuperSport had signed a long term deal with the regional body.

“That deal is locked up with SuperSport but let’s see what will happen after the deal ends. I was the one who got the deal for SuperSport so I would like to have it back,” Rathbone, who was SuperSport head of Africa before resigning in 2012 told Capital Sport.


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