Mathare United is the latest among three Kenyan Premier League clubs that have started feeling the vagaries of withdrawal of sponsorship by betting companies following the effecting of the new betting tax last month.
Giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards were the first to feel the effects after SportPesa withdrew funding towards them following the unprecedented increase of taxes on all betting platform by the government.
Mathare joined the bandwagon of clubs that have been dealt a devastating blow following the cancellation of sponsorship by Betway. Mathare’s predicament comes even as Gor and Leopards conceded that they are in dire financial straits amidst fears that they may not honour their return continental assignments due to teething problem.
In the meantime, Kenyan Premier League (KPL) have yet to pay referees their accrued dues since the 2018 season started due to the withdrawal of mega sponsorship by SportPesa. Sponsorship This comes in the backdrop of government’s promise to splash Sh500 million to fill being left by the betting companies, but the promise is yet to be effected.
Mathare Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jackton Obure conceded that Betway declined to renew the one-year sponsorship and that the club is relying on well-wishers with hopes of getting a new facilitator.
“Betway pulled out as our shirt sponsors and we have merely survived through God’s grace and that’s why we have managed to pay the wages of players up to now. But that is short terms and we are bracing for tough times. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel since a number of sponsors are knocking on our doors and once we enter into a partnership, we will let you know,” said Obure.
In the meantime, the official said the team is bound to feel the effects of the sponsorship and called on the government to relax its rules on the tax increase by betting companies which led to most of them closing shop in the Kenyan market.
“The tax increment on gaming companies has really affected our operations since we were solely relying on direct sponsorship from gaming companies. The government ought to reconsider its stand since players eke out a living from football,’’ said Obure.
Elsewhere, Gor Mahia Chief Executive Officer Lordvick Aduda said the team has been struggling to pay players and that they do not know where they will get Sh 7 million for air tickets and accommodation for the return match against Vegeterianos of Equatorial Guinea in Malabo.
Struggling “We’ve been struggling since the withdrawal of sponsorship by SportPesa and we hope the government will fulfil its pledge of dishing out Sh 500 million to local clubs to sustain their activities,” said Aduda. Leopards chairman Dan Mule also said the team was in financial crisis and also called on the government to fulfil the pledge.
Gor and Leopards were reportedly receiving Sh 450 million and Sh 600 million annually from SportPesa before the withdrawal of the amount. Another KPL side Sofapaka are also bound to feel the pinch after Betika said they will slash the annual Sh 50 million by half which it gives to the club due to the increased tax.