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MPs offer to mediate KRU, Brand Kenya row

Kenya celebrate the Challenge Trophy win over Wales on day two of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in London on 3rd June, 2018. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 22 – The National Assembly Committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism plans to hold talks with the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), the Ministries of Tourism and that on Sports as well as the players over the unfolding debacle surrounding the sponsorship of the Kenya Sevens Rugby Team which has culminated into the sacking of Shujaa coach Innocent Simiyu.

The House team chairman Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town) said the Committee is deeply concerned at the turn of events just after the team achieved their best score ever in the World Sevens Series.

“We look forward to engaging the various stakeholders soon; the Kenya Rugby Union, the State Department of Tourism, under which Brand Kenya falls, the State Department of Sports (both State Departments being under my Committee’s oversight) and the Players. We are cognizant of the contribution of the team towards promoting the Country and we wish to urge them on.”

“Achieving 104 points after the Paris Series was no mean feat. As the first National Assembly Committee ever since independence to directly oversight Sports, I want to assure Kenyans, that we are committed to getting to the bottom of this matter, in a way that does not jeopardize the participation of the Kenya Sevens Rugby Team’s in the forth coming World Cup in the USA in July, 2018, which the Sevens Team is a strong contender for,” he stated.

Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

The development comes a day after Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala terminated the Sh20 million 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.

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.

KRU later on announced the sacking of Simiyu who according to them backed his players action, saying they should not be victimized for the action.

It is left to be seen whether the Union will now disband the team and start afresh, just less than a month to the Rugby World Cup in San Francisco, USA.

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