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SPORTS

Nigerian betting firm comes to KPL’s rescue in a mega sponsorship

FOOTBALL By Rodeger Eshitemi | July 17th 2020 | 3 min read
FKF President Nick Mwendwa at Goal Project unveiling Sh1.2 billion sponsorship deal with BetKing towards sponsoring the Kenyan Premier League and the Women League. July 16, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has announced a lucrative five-year sponsorship deal worth Sh 1.2 billion for the topflight league with Nigerian betting firm, BetKing.

While unveiling the deal yesterday, Nick Mwendwa who is facing a stiff challenge over the handling of the federations stalled elections, said BetKing are set to become the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title sponsors effective September.

Each club will be entitled to at least Sh8 million per year until 2025.

While this is a huge relief to the league which has been struggling financially since SportPesa withdrew their title sponsorship in August 2019, questions abound on the legality of the deal.

The Sports Disputes Tribunal ruled on march 17 that the team of office of Nick Mwendwa and his National Executive Committee, the constitutional organ entrusted with approving such deals, ended on February 10.

FKF is also locked in a Tribunal battle with the Kenyan Premier League Limited, who manages the league after Mwendwa abruptly ended the league on April 30 without consulting them.

Yesterday, however, Mwendwa unveiled deal the FA’s headquarters at Kasarani with the promise it will also sponsor the annual Footballer of the Year Awards gala as well as the Monthly Player and Coach Awards.

And having secured the historic league sponsorship, which starts at Sh 220 million in the first year before rising by five percent in the second year and by ten percent in subsequent years, Mwendwa said the federation will now dedicate the annual license fees of about Sh12 million received from KPL clubs to the Women Premier League.

According to Mwendwa, the league which will soon move its headquarters to Kasarani, will receive the first installment after the funds are disbursed into the federation’s accounts next week.

 “As you know, our players and officials have struggled for the last three years. We’ve got questions about our top league, but now as we approach taking over the running of the FKF Premier League we want to do the right thing with it. Now our league will be known as the Betking Premier League. It’s taken us fifteen days to agree on this deal and we’ve signed the contract,” said Mwendwa.

“It has been a shame for the National Super League (NSL) to have sponsorship yet KPL doesn’t have. But now I’m glad that has been sorted out.”

Though the league headquarters’ will be moved to Kasarani, Mwendwa, who will be seeking re-election in the stalled elections, said the federation will not interfere with their operations.

 “The running of that league will change from next season and it will run from here at the FKF House. There will be no more paying of rent and that money will now go to the clubs,” said Mwendwa

“But I want to be clear, the league running and management will remain with the clubs, the federation is not interested at all. We will find the money for them, but we will let them manage it. They can use it to pay the referees, branding and many other things.

He added: “We shall receive the first deposit payment in the next seven days and I will ask the clubs what they want to do with that money. So, this is not a story but changing the game. I’m excited today because in the middle of politics, sponsors have come to us and they are willing to back us. That tells you that we have done well.”

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