Last updated 11 months ago | By Gilbert Wandera
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) says it is staring at Sh600 million sponsorship loss following the crackdown on betting firms by the government.
The federation’s boss Nick Mwendwa termed it a big crisis that will affect them badly.
“We are looking at a huge loss translating to about Sh600 million. Without the betting firms, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards clubs will have no sponsor, Harambee Stars will suffer and our shield tournament will be non-existent,” Mwendwa said.
He further said the recent visit by English Premier League side Everton who played Kariobangi Sharks in an international friendly match will not happen.
While Mwendwa said he does not have a problem with the government regulations, this should be done in a sensitive manner well aware of the consequences which may follow.
“The game needs the money and all over the world, seventy per cent of football sponsorships are from betting companies.
“I want to ask the government to remember us as they take whatever action they are undertaking. If they leave, we are staring at a very bleak future.”
He said that also likely to be affected is the sports fund which draws its revenue from the betting companies.
Last week, Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier and his AFC Leopards counter-part Dan Shikanda expressed concern that the crackdown will affect their clubs who are sponsored by SportPesa.
“It is doom and gloom. It is our prayer that the standoff between the government and betting firms is resolved amicably,” said Ambrose Rachier, the chairman of Gor Mahia.
He added: “Of course we understand the position of the government, but whatever action they take they should also consider the sports industry. SportPesa and other betting companies have invested millions of shillings in sports.”
AFC Leopards’ Dan Shikanda, said: “Ingwe depends 100% on SportPesa funding. We simply don’t know where we go from here. The government, we believe, has the best interest of everyone including Leopards.”
The government has declined to renew licenses of 27 betting firms for allegedly failing to comply with industry rules.
Among the biggest firms affected are SportPesa and Betin.
The matter is currently in court, but there seems to be no end in sight at the moment over the stand-off.