NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21- The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has now seemingly shifted blame over the Brand Kenya ‘Make it Kenya’ fiasco back to the players, saying they had clearly explained the financial situation of the new sponsorship deal before the Paris 7s.
In a statement released by (KRU) just hours after Tourism CS Najib balala said the sponsorship deal would be terminated, the Union says an explanation over everything that had transpired in Paris was also shared by the sponsors.
“The delay in payment to players was clearly communicated the team via its management. The consequences of their actions were also clearly communicated to the Team, before they took this step. The Team was also told that they would be paid upon their return to Kenya at which time we expected our finances to have improved with funding from government and sponsors,” a statement from the Union read.
It further explains that Sh4mn of the Sh20mn package was paid to the Union while the players were entitled to Sh100, 000 each as ‘a token of appreciation’ for their performance, top of it being reaching the Vancouver 7s final.
“This money was not payment for appearances, bonuses or allowances. It was a one off token of appreciation and this was clearly explained to the players,” the Union further states in its defense.
They further go on to explain that the money hit their accounts on June 4, a few days before the Paris leg and they go on to state that the players were promised to get their share of earnings after Paris.
KRU further adds that the money received from Brand Kenya was channeled to other needs, including the team’s preparation and travel for Paris and London 7s while some was channeled to the Kenya Simbas preparations for the Elgon Cup and Africa Gold Cup.
“We have documentation proving all the above as a true record of what has transpired since the start of this journey with Brand Kenya. The KRU would like to once again, offer its apologies to the citizens of Kenya, the government of Kenya, Sponsors and all our supporters who have carried us this far.
Nonetheless, Capital Sport has learn that the root cause of the fiasco boils down to the growing mistrust between the team and the Union who have been said to have deferred on several similar agreements in the past.
The crosshairs between sponsors, players and the Union come at a bad time as the country prepares for next month’s World Cup in San Francisco, United States.
The current state of affairs brings their preparation into jeopardy and possibly, animosity that might see changes in the team that travels to the tournament.
The team under the tutelage of Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu have just finished their best ever season in the World Sevens Series, breaking the 100-point mark for the first time ever after collecting a total of 104.