NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) boss Richard Omwela is confident an amicable solution will be reached between the board and Kenya Sevens players over bonus arrears.
KRU owe players over Sh15m bonus arrears from the 2015/16 season, seeing the Shujaa players boycott Tuesday’s shirt sponsorship announcement between SportPesa and KRU where the betting firm committed Sh607m.
Despite being invited, the men’s team failed to turn up for the launch, forcing KRU to use Kenya Lionesses to model the new shirt that has SportPesa’s name on the front side.
Despite the bonus scheme being in existence since 2011, Omwela said they had negotiated contracts that did not have the bonuses when the Kenya Airways deal was renewed.
“We negotiated contracts that did not have the bonuses. However, our CEO Ronald Bukusi is away on sick leave in USA and he may have negotiated and signed contracts that included the bonus scheme because we are yet to get a full brief from him,” Omwela said.
“But we as a board we are a responsible employer and if a scheme was in the contract, then it becomes binding on the Union. Over the last couple of days the vice chairman and Squads Director have been talking to the players in respective of those bonuses because it took us by surprise to understand there were bonuses when we didn’t know about it,” he added.
“We have engaged the players and we continue talking to them and we hope that we will be able to reach an amicable solution to the issue. If the contract is there we as a responsible Union we will find a way to meet the players demands based on our financial ability.”
The hefty bonus is Sh500,000 ($5,000) that the team is demanding after lifting their first ever HSBC Sevens World Series Main Cup title at last season’s Singapore Sevens.
However, head coach Innocent Simiyu says he knows nothing about the bonus row but said he will support the players decisions.
Simiyu will on Thursday select his first ever squad that will do duty at the 2016/17 World Rugby Season opener in Dubai on the weekend Of December 2.
“I have not been informed about go-slow because we have had training this morning. Players are contracted individually and if they make that decision I will respect it, but for me I’m concentrating on fielding a team for Dubai,” Simiyu stated.
“We don’t have any major injury concerns of we are looking in regards to fitness and also looking at health and the conduct in terms of training attendance which will be key in selecting the team.”
Kenya is drawn in a tough Pool D in Dubai Sevens alongside Australia, France and Japan.