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KRU considering pulling Shujaa, Simbas out of international assignments

Kenya Rugby Union boss Richard Omwela. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 12 – Just hours after the Ministry of Sports said it had fully funded the Kenya Sevens team, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has denied the claims and stated that they are considering pulling all its representative squads out of international assignments if the Government does not come out to support them.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports Rashid Echesa speaking in Nyeri, stated that he had summoned the KRU officials to explain why the Kenya Sevens team did not don the jersey bearing the sponsors’ ‘Make It Kenya’ logo despite claiming the ministry had remitted money to the federation.

However, KRU swiftly responded to the allegations revealing that it had only received Sh31 million out of a budget of Sh124 million that they presented to and accepted by the Ministry of Sport after their main partner SportPesa pulled out.

The Kenya Sevens team has been appointed the Brand Kenya ambassadors in aim of promoting Kenya over the next eight months in their world wide tour.

“Following a meeting with the Ministry of Sports on January 10, it presented a budget of Ksh124m two days later. (January 12). A second meeting with the Ministry took place on January 15 before the KRU received a payment of Ksh 31mn in early February. This amount has been used to support our national squads in various assignments and we thank the Government for this,” a statement from KRU read.

“Several meetings between the Ministry and KRU have since taken place, the latest one on May 29 where assurances that part payment of the balance would be made to the KRU by June 5. No further payment has been received to date despite assurances to the contrary,” the statement added.

“Operations of the KRU have ground to a halt at a time when our two national squads, Simba and Shujaa are preparing for critical assignments in the coming days. In the absence of Government support, KRU is considering pulling all its representative squads out of international assignments.”

The Kenya Simbas in a past match. Photo/KRU

ALSO READ: Echesa speaks over Kenya 7s pay dispute

The Kenya 15s team are set to begin their Rugby World Cup qualification process with a match away to Morocco on June 23 and will have four other fixtures and training programs between now and August.

On their part, Shujaa are preparing for the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco in July.

“In light of the fiasco in Paris this past weekend, the KRU will take action to make sure that this does not happen again,” KRU lamented.

All this erupted on Saturday during the opening Day of the final leg of the 2017/18 HSBC Sevens World Series in Paris where Kenya Sevens players protested their lack of payments by not wearing the jersey bearing the front shirt sponsors Brand Kenya under the logo ‘ Make It Kenya’.

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Claims are that the players were demanding Sh100,000 each for the photo shoot they conducted during the launch of the new sponsors.

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