Tourism CS Najib Balala terminates Shujaa sponsorship after battle over payments

By Japheth Ogila: Thursday, June 21st 2018 at 12:12 GMT +3 | Rugby
Kenya Sevens team in a past match. [Photo/Courtesy]

The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala has instructed Brand Kenya to cancel its Sh20m sponsorship deal with Kenya Rugby Union, after a tussle between the players and sponsor.

While addressing the media in Mombasa at the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Symposium on Thursday morning; Balala announced the decision in what seems as a payback after players protested delayed payments.

During the recent Paris 7’s tournament, Kenya Sevens Players blocked the ‘Make it Kenya’ logo as a way of expressing their anger over lack of payments. The CS termed this move an act that embarrassed the country hence his decision.

Tourism CS Najib Balala. [Photo/Courtesy]

The issue has led to protracted battle pitting players and coach against the union and the Brand Kenya, the official sponsor. Tempers have boiled and as a result curtailing efforts to put the matter to rest.

This is after Shujaa coach Innocent Simiyu recently stormed out of a tribunal encompassing Brand Kenya and Kenya Sevens team.

Nonetheless, Brand Kenya have refuted claims that it has been sluggish in disbursing the payments. It issued statement that Shs 4m had been wired to the KRU, hence it honoured the contractual agreement.

Get the latest sports news updates. Subscribe to our SMS sports service by texting 'SPORTS' to 22840.

Kenya Rugby Union on the other hand acknowledged receiving the payments but explained that the funds covered accommodation, travels and other logistical needs for the team during the tournament in France.

KRU however acknowledged Sh2.5m is due and it will be paid to the players as soon as the money is acquired.

Brand Kenya signed a deal to sponsor Kenya Sevens Rugby team in May 2018, after betting company SportPesa had pulled out as the official sponsor.

Further reporting to follow…