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KPL asks for government help to run league

KPL CEO Jack Oguda during a previous press briefing. Photo/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 17 – The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) management has asked for the government’s help in running the league due to the exit of sponsors SportPesa and the apparent failure to land a new sponsor immediately.

There have been calls for the league to be halted over the current financial cash crunch with most clubs struggling to make their ends meet and one club, Sony Sugar, already having given out a walk over.

All the 18 KPL clubs met on Thursday morning at the league’s headquarters in Westlands and while there was an agreement that the league should not be suspended, the clubs have now asked for the government’s help.

“We have approached various corporates but due to the current economic situation in the country, the offers being tabled do not meet the demands of the League. It takes time to formalize any sponsorship deal since most corporates operate on running budgets which were already set in the beginning of their respective financial year,” a statement from KPL CEO Jack Oguda reads.

He added; We would like to formally plead with the Government to step in and provide a short-term financial solution to facilitate the smooth running of the League. Some of the teams are struggling to honor both local and international matches whilst players and officials risk losing their employment.”

-SportPesa exit

Gor Mahia players line up before a past Kenyan Premier League match. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

With the exit of SportPesa, KPL as well as Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards have been left without sponsors while most other companies sponsoring teams, especially those from the sugar belt are struggling.

The betting company announced two weeks ago that it was folding its Kenyan business due to the tax burden loaded by the new laws.

“We also appeal for more tax incentives to corporates that are supporting the sport and to other football stakeholders (fans, corporates) to come and support the beautiful game,” Oguda’s statement further added.

There are a few clubs who can sustain themselves under the current financial crunch, most of them being institutional clubs. Tusker, KCB, Ulinzi Stars, Bandari, Wazito and lately Sofapaka who signed a new sponsorship deal with Betika on Wednesday are on a financial safe space.

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The sugar belt sides; Chemelil, Nzoia and Sony are struggling to make ends meet with their parent companies struggling amidst their failing industries.

-Nyayo Stadium

The playing surface is the only positive from the refurbishment of the Nyayo National Stadium

Meanwhile, the league managers have asked for the government to expedite the renovation of the Nyayo National Stadium which will attract more fans and reduce the running costs of the teams in terms of travel and accommodation costs.

Nairobi based teams have been forced to scramble for the expensive Kasarani Stadium whose availability has not been as frequent.

The Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos has been the alternative for most which has led to its overuse.

Narok Stadium and Afraha in Nakuru have as well been used as rebounds incase Machakos is fully booked.

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