NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6 – The Kenya Rugby Union and its top sponsors Safaricom, Bamburi, and Kenya Airways on Thursday announced fresh negotiations for future sponsorship plans.
The union has undergone a makeover in an attempt to get its sponsors back due to the near collapse they are currently facing after most of their backers voiced concern over lack of integrity.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore sent a clear message on what they are expecting as sponsors but stressed that the integrity question mark needs to disappear before they consider a come-back.
“Since then we have had a number discussions with our fellow sponsors and we are happy with the progress that Richard (Omwela) is making not has made because there is still more work to be done,” he said.
“Corruption is something which I personally take a very strong position on, my company takes a strong position on, and it’s pleasing to see that the President of the Republic is also taking a strong position on, so we cannot compromise those things and I was not happy with what I had seen in the union.”
He acknowledged the progress KRU Chairman Omwela has made since taking over but also expressed more needed to be done in order for the sponsors to show interest in coming on aboard again.
“We are actually pretty confident that you will as the chairman of KRU you will resolve that, and the fact that we are here does show our continued support.”
“The clock is ticking and October is not very far, so if we are to make this thing a success, decisions need to be made within a matter of days,” Safaricom’s top man expressed. “At Safaricom we really believe that sport has the power of positive impact on young people and that’s why we are very big supports.”
Omwela acknowledge the great concern from their major sponsors stating that: “When I took over I first wanted to engage sponsors and get them back on board because we are going nowhere with the union sponsors, who want to see a change of attitude, how the union does business, and accountability.”
He clarified the issue affecting the national 7s team noting: “Contrary to what everybody is saying we have not disbanded the sevens team, you cannot disband a national team. All you can do is have a break which we are having, then reassemble again.”
“I really want you back Bob,” Omwela said, showing the desperation of the union as it is hanging on a thread.
Clearing the national sevens issue and the numerous assumptions he stated that “technically the contracts have now expired and will be looking to be renewing the contracts when the season kicks off.
He also mentioned the officials facing a disciplinary hearing during the next week who are the assistant coach, conditioning coach and the team manager adding that: “All players have been paid up to July 31 and there are no pending issues as of salaries at this point.”
Kenya Airways marketing director Chris Diaz also shared his concerns on the issues affecting the union but also stressed that they are all there to try and come up with a solution.
“I am very sure and we’re very confident that the Kenyan Rugby Union will be able to resolve these issues.”
“We are keen to reiterate our continued support to the new management and all activities that will grow the team. Through its support of the Kenya 7s, Kenya Airways is keen to drive the team to even greater heights as they aspire to gain more traction in international competitions.”