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Tourism CS Balala cancels Shujaa sponsorship

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

MOMBASA, Kenya, Jun 21- Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has announced that the ministry has cancelled the Sh20mn sponsorship to the national rugby sevens team, saying they embarrassed the country by blocking the ‘Make it Kenya’ brand during the Paris leg of the World Sevens Series.

This is less than a fortnight after the sponsorship deal that involved the Kenya Rugby Union and Brand Kenya was signed and unveiled.

Balala was speaking on Thursday morning at a Mombasa Hotel during the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Symposium.

A row erupted between Brand Kenya and the Kenya Rugby Union after players taped out the ‘Make it Kenya’ Brand during the Paris 7s in protest over lack of payment.

Kenya’s Billy Odhiambo shakes off the Fiji defense on day one of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris on 9th June, 2018. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

However in a rejoinder, the sponsors said they had remitted the money to the Union and hence on their end had met their obligations with the Union confirming as much saying they had received Sh4mn from Brand Kenya.

“This has gone into funding more priority needs of the team such as player allowances for the London and Paris legs, Accommodation and Airfare for the extra management carried on the tour and outstanding training allowances,” the Union said in a statement as it made an effort to clean up the mess.

It added; “What is due to the players is Sh2.5mn which will be paid as soon as additional installments or money from other sources is received by KRU.”

In a further statement, the Union said it was working to resolve the issue with the sponsors.

However, the minister’s word on Thursday now puts all that into jeopardy.

It brings the Union into another financial crisis with the team set to compete at next month’s Rugby 7s World Cup in San Francisco, United States.

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-Additional info courtesy Mombasa Correspondent

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