Sports dealt blow: Karauri seeks audience with President Uhuru after canceling close to Sh 1 billion sponsorship deals
12 months ago, 3 Jan 17:58
SportPesa chief executive officer, Ronald Karauri is seeking audience with the President Uhuru Kenyatta in a bid to end the current stalemate, which threatens to cost the sports fraternity close to Sh1 billion. Karauri also want to engage Sports Cabinet Secretary, Hassan Wario and his Finance counterpart, Henry Rotich on the same subject with a view of saving the situation. Karauri yesterday announced the cancellation of all their sponsorship to local clubs, federations and individual players after the new finance law took effect on January 1. While making the announcement to shelve the grants extended to local entities, the firm’s CEO asked the government to chip in and bear the financial costs initially catered for by his firm, SportPesa. “I ask His Excellency the President Uhuru Kenyatta to engage with me and so us to come up with a solution to this. I would also like to meet the cabinet secretaries for sports and finance and see how we will come up with solutions to the negative impact brought about by the new finance law. “I further request the government to help the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) in paying the Technical Director’s salary as well as the three quarters of the salary for the national team head coach. Besides, I request the state to assist the league to kick off without delay and help Gor and AFC Leopards honour their continental matches. We would be glad to be back should the government re-think the financial law.” SportPesa has been investing over Sh750 million annually in the local sports fraternity. The decision to cancel the local sponsorships by the Pevans East Africa owned sports betting firm was arrived at after unsuccessful attempts to have the High Court ruling which upheld the 35 percent tax imposed on sports betting firms and lotteries reviewed. After making an entry to the Kenyan sports as a sponsor, SportPesa had struck deals worth millions with several federations, clubs and sports personalities and their extended support to overseas-based clubs also benefitted the domestic sporting activities. Yesterday, the firm ended their partnership with Football Kenya Federation (FKF) who enjoyed an annual Sh100 million support and payment of salaries to the federation’s technical director, Andrea Spiers (an estimated at Sh1 million). They also catered for 75 percent of the national team head coach Paul Put salary (an estimated Sh2 million). The firm also cancelled the annual Sh100 million given to Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) as well as the estimated Sh400m partnership with Kenya Premier League. SportPesa had signed a five-year long contract with FKF and KRU and a four-and-half year contract with KPL. Football clubs Gor Mahia (Sh60 million), AFC Leopards (Sh45m) and National Super League side Nakuru All Stars (Sh10m) lost their annual sponsorship after gaming firm shut its financial aid to local clubs. Kenya Cup side, Kenya Harlequins were not spared either as their five-year long sponsorship deal came down tumbling. Grass root tournaments including SportPesa Super 8 and Koth Biro were also affected by the cancellation ...