03 Jan, 09:45
On Tuesday 2 January 2018, one of the leading bookmaker SportPesa announced that it had cancelled its entire sports sponsorship contracts among them federations with Football Kenya Federation being one of the major culprits effective December 31, 2017.
FKF has explained that it will continue to engage both the government and the different other players following that recent introduction of the Finance Bill 2017 which raised the tax rate on betting, lotteries and gaming activities to 35 percent, a decision SportPesa challenged in court and lost leading to the drastic measure.
In his statement after the development, FKF president Nick Mwendwa admitted that the development is a blow to Kenyan Football, coming at a time when the sport was beginning to blossom following years of mismanagement , rampant corruption and lack of corporate goodwill.
-It’s a big blow to football development and sports in general, owing that SportPesa also sponsors other fields. Unfortunately, it is the position we find ourselves in, we however remain optimistic that a solution to the same will be reached in good time, said Mwendwa.
Tax is okay but.....
-We support the government’s proposal to introduce a uniform tax across board on betting, lottery, gaming, and competition industry but also feel that it is important to acknowledge the growth of sports marketing as an industry and acknowledge that worldwide the private sector plays a big role in developing sports outside what is considered national assets such as the national, youth and women’s teams.
-It is therefore our strong feeling that the implementation of the proposed National Sports, Culture and Arts fund should not curtail the unprecedented growth and beneficial sports sponsorship drive undertaken by the betting, gaming and lottery enterprises. In light of the aforementioned, we are proactively engaging the government to try and reach a win-win situation for all parties involved and further discuss the best way to manage sports sponsorships, added Mr. Mwendwa.
The effects of the cancellation are slowly starting to sink in for the federation having benefited to the tune of Kshs 120 Million in FKF’s developmental agenda annually which it says has been instrumental in rolling out of key developmental activities over the last one and a half years, key amongst them the training of over 2000 grass-root coaches.
Through the Partnerships, FKF has also been able to train and provide Technical Skills Transfer to both local coaches and players by holding coaching workshops and accorded local players an opportunity to play against top European sides specifically the Kenya National U13 Team which took part in the Southampton Cup for the first time ever, winning Shield in the tournament, held in the UK.
The funds were also used to partially cater for salaries for the newly appointed Harambee Stars Coach Paul Put and the full salaries of FKF Technical Director Mr. Andreas Spier. The company also recently treated the successful Harambee Stars team to a luncheon and a Ksh 3million token for winning the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.