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SportPesa back, pumps Sh682mn in football

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Sports Principal Secretary Ambasador Peter Kaberia and SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri with representatives from FKF, KPL, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. L-R Jack Oguda- CEO KPL, FKF boss Nick Mwendwa, Gor Mahia chair Ambrose Rachier and AFC Leopards’ Dan Mule. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23- Betting firm SportPesa has announced a return to sponsoring sports in the country, but will only splash their cash on football for a period of three years, dropping their previous associations with rugby, boxing and rallying.

The company on Monday announced a combined Sh682mn sponsorship for Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards as well as Football Kenya Federation and the Kenyan Premier League for a period of three years, a much reduced figure from the initial five-year contracts signed two years ago.

“We have not renewed some of the contracts we had but we decided to choose some of the few we had because the taxation has changed so we need to support the ones we think we can sustain as long as the tax remains as it is,” SportPesa Chief Executive Officer Ronald Karauri announced.

The company will give FKF Sh69.4mn which will go towards the FKF Cup which will now be known as the SportPesa Shield while they will also resume their title sponsorship of the Kenyan Premier League for Sh259.7mn over the same period.

Gor Mahia who will have a bumper calendar participating in the CAF Confederations Cup will be sponsored to the tune of Sh198.6mn while their arch rivals AFC Leopards will earn a sponsorship of Sh156.4mn both over three years.

Sports Principal Secretary Ambasador Peter Kaberia and SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri address the press at the Sports Ministry Headquarters on April 23, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Meanwhile, the government says it has been involved in the signing of the new contracts with Sports Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia saying they will ensure that each party gets its fair share of value from the contract without disruption.

“We as a government decided we will participate in this procedure so that it will no longer be federations and financial groups going into agreements while we are on the outside. We want to be part of it and we want to be able to see what we can help with when the federations come to us for help after they sign the deals,” Kaberia said.

Earlier in the year, the betting company which had spread its wings in almost all sports entities in the country had announced it would be stopping all its activities over the 35pc gaming tax law.

The announcement comes as a huge relief to Kenyan premier League clubs which were almost on the verge of collapse with the league lacking both a title and broadcast partner.

Over the weekend, players wore red armbands as a mark of protest over the league’s lack of financial muscle.

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri, Sports Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia and Football Kenya Federation boss Nick Mwendwa address the press on April 23, 2018 and the Sports Ministry Headquarters. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“I want to thank SportPesa for coming back despite the law on taxation. It has been difficult at the KPL with 18 clubs being without sponsorship and it has taken a great toll and this is a relief for us despite reduction of the amount,” KPL chairman Ambrose Rachier who also doubles up as the Gor Mahia chair noted.

FKF boss Nick Mwendwa added; “I want to applaud SportPesa for coming back. It is a relief and we want to encourage them to do more in the long run. I also want to thank the ministry for coming on board because it has not been happening before.”

Meanwhile, Kaberia said they will be ready to assist Gor Mahia in their CAF Confederations Cup campaign especially with the three away matches they have to play in Rwanda, Algeria and Tanzania.

“If they present to us the budget then we will look at it and we will consider giving help,” Kaberia said.

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