In Summary
  • Affected entities  include Football Kenya Federation, Kenya Rugby Union, Boxing Association of Kenya, plus football clubs Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Nakuru All Stars, and boxer Fatuma Zarika.
  • When the legal route failed, SportPesa retaliated by closing taps on all financial arrangements that primarily benefit athletes and coaches.  

  • AFC Leopards, the other popular football club bankrolled by SportPesa to the tune of Sh45 million each year, have cancelled a trip to Zambia for pre-season. 

Local sports entities are already struggling to remain afloat barely a week after SportPesa walked out on long-term sponsorship deals valued at about Sh600 million annually. 

Affected entities  include Football Kenya Federation, Kenya Rugby Union, Boxing Association of Kenya, plus football clubs Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Nakuru All Stars, and famed boxer Fatuma Zarika. 

The row arises from increased taxation by the government aimed at ‘discouraging gambling’. The law took effect at the start of this year.

Initially, SportPesa unsuccessfully challenged it in court. The law, which was signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in June last year,  raises the tax rate on gambling to 35 per cent of gross profits.

When the legal route failed, SportPesa retaliated by closing taps on all financial arrangements that primarily benefit athletes and coaches. 

And as the deadlock rages, Gor Mahia’s management has put on hold plans for its first team to attend a 10-day high-altitude training outside the country. 

BUDGET

With Sh60 million hole in their annual  budget which would otherwise have been plugged by the gaming firm, the Kenya Premier League champions have settled to train in Nairobi. 

It could get worse. Club chairman Ambrose Rachier said he does not know how monthly salaries for the players and technical bench, valued at Sh3.5 million, alongside other expenses, will be offset. 

It’s also unclear as to whether  K’Ogalo will honour its international engagements this season. 

The club has been drawn against little known Equatorial Guinea side Leones Vegetarinos in the preliminaries of the Caf Africa Champions League and the management had earlier stated their ambition of making it to the group stages, where as much as Sh250 million awaits the overall winner in December.  

Failure to participate in the competition attracts a ban, alongside a hefty fine of at least Sh1 million. 

AFC LEOPARDS

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