By GILBERT WANDERA
|Karuturi Sports players react after a past Kenyan Premier League match against Sofapaka. [PHOTO:BONIFACE OKENDO/STANDARD]|
After the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) signed a lucrative broadcast sponsorship deal with SuperSport, being relegated from the competition has become a very expensive affair for affected clubs.
Relegation now comes with a huge financial loss that may sometimes lead to the complete disintegration of a team especially those that lack the support of an institution. By being relegated this season for-example, Naivasha based Karuturi Sports stand to lose at least Sh10 million in annual revenues. This makes it almost impossible for the relegated club to keep their top players next season as they bid to make a quick return to the KPL.
The club will automatically lose the Sh6.5 million paid out as grants by KPL from money received from sponsors SuperSport and East African Breweries Limited. According to KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda, the grants went up to Sh6.5 million per club after Tusker came on board as title sponsors.
“The amount of grants we give out to our member clubs has gone up since a title sponsor came on board and so it becomes a very expensive affair to be relegated,” he said.
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SH3M GATE COLLECTIONS
Apart from the lost grants, Oguda estimates that Karuturi will lose another Sh3million from gate collections which is what they raise against the country’s most supported clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. With reduced support from sponsoring firm Karuturi, the Naivasha-based side will find it difficult to take part in next season’s Division One league.
The club was mostly run by grants after the mother company reduced support to the team amid financial difficulties. This lead to players going without pay for some months and it remains to be seen how they will execute their operations following the loss of grants. Karuturi faced difficult times towards the end of the season and were forced to change coaches in a move that affected their stability. This season alone, the club has had three coaches.
They started the season with Michael Nam who was replaced by former international James Omondi. Omondi was fi red two months ago due to poor results and replaced by by Jacob Omondi. Former Karuturi Sports chairman David Omega said the team’s undoing was poor management and insists he is not surprised by the axe. Current coach Jacob Omondi, however, insists they will be back after one season in the lower league.
“We are planning to take part in the Division One league and hopefully gain promotion immediately. No one should write us off simply because we have been relegated,” he said.
He said the club management will hold a meeting today in Naivasha to chart the way forward. Karuturi play KCB this weekend in their last match of the season hoping to bow out on a positive note.
Oserian, who are also from Naivasha, will take part in the Division One play-offs with the opportunity to make a return to the KPL next season.
—[email protected] co.ke