Kenya soccer giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards are among football clubs that will be highly affected by withdrawal of sponsorship by betting firm Sportpesa.
This comes barely a few days after betting firm SportPesa failed to block the implementation of increased taxation on gaming.
Gor Mahia, one of the Kenya teams that Sportpesa sponsors through its chairman Ambrose Rachier has pleaded with the government to rethink the move.
Through a statement, Rachier has asked the government to develop the sports industry and not repel investors from the industry.
Pevans East Africa Limited, which owns SportsPesa and Bradley/Pambazuka National Lottery, had sued the Betting and Control Licensing Board, Interior and Finance Cabinet Secretaries, Kenya Revenue Authority’s Commissioner General, the National Assembly, Speaker of the Senate as well as the Attorney General.
This follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recommendation in June that betting, lotteries and gaming activities should be taxed at the rate of 35 per cent.
SportPesa are major partners of national sporting bodies Kenya Rugby Union, Football Kenya Federation and Boxing Association of Kenya.
The betting firm is also the official sponsor of National Super League side Nakuru All Stars.
‘I can go on and on about how guaranteed and steady support by corporates to the sports sector is important. The sports industry is a latent giant, let us not waste this opportunity to develop it by repelling investors from the industry. I therefore plead with the government to rethink this move which will sound a death knell to this very promising industry,’ Rachier said.
The company, which also has operations in Tanzania, South Africa, the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom, opted to pay some percentage of Harambee Stars head coach Paul Put’s salary and it remains to be seen whether they will stay committed to it.