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KRU lands SH0.6B sponsorship deal from Sportpesa

RUGBY By Rodgers Eshitemi | July 21st 2016
Chairman Kenya Rugby Union Richard Omwela, left, receive a dummy cheque of Shs607Million from Ronald Karauri CEO Sportpesa and Georgina Maina, centre, Brand Ambassador Sportpesa during the launch of partnership between Kenya Rugby Union-Sportpesa in Nairobi on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has announced a multi-million shilling sponsorship deal with local sports betting company, SportPesa for the next five years.

The 607 million shillings deal will see SportPesa become KRU’s headline partner in all its activities including the Kenya Sevens Men’s team, whose recent sponsorship with the Kenya Airways ends in September 2016.

The deal will also cover the development of Kenya Simbas, Kenya U19s, Kenya Lionesses and other youth programmes with the target of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Apart from the sponsorship, the betting firm will reward the national teams (bonuses/incentives) based on performance, with part of the sponsorship channelled to the upcoming National Sevens circuit.

In an interview with Feverpitch on the sidelines of the partnership launch at the Sarova Stanley Hotel yesterday, KRU chairman Richard Omwela thanked SportPesa for coming on board and assured them that his Union will account for all the money received.

“It is a great day indeed in the history of Kenyan rugby. This has never happened before, we have gone through a lot at KRU and would like to thank the players in particular the 15s team who have walked with us without money. Now, we have money, the stakes will definitely go higher in terms of expectations. We are excited about this partnership. But other sponsors can still come on board, we have not closed the doors for them,” Omwela told Feverpitch.

“The sponsorship spreads across five years, we have several programmess at union. Each one will be allocated the money and we will share the information on a monthly basis.

“Looking at some of the current national team players, they may not be there in 2019, so we want to emphasise on the U19s and make sure these players are well prepared for the World Cup qualification and eventually play on the big stage in japan. With the age grade rugby program, that’s a target we must achieve.

“SportPesa are part of the sponsors for the National Sevens Circuit, and obviously we will have other sponsors. We want to make sure that the host clubs are able to cater for the hosting and fund teams to travel to the venues. We will not send money to the clubs, but enter into agreement with reputable couriers in the country. Clubs keep on saying they want a 10 per cent, please don’t look at the 10 per cent because it will not be available, all the money will be pumped into the sport itself. We want to assure you that every penny we receive will be accounted for.”

Commenting on the Kenya Airways sponsorship status, Omwela said: “As we speak KQ are still the shirt sponsors because the contract ends in September. It has a renewal clause that provides that if another sponsor comes on board and is able to give us an offer, we go back to KQ and tell them to match the offer. We have already done that and the ball now is in KQ’s court.”

SportPesa Chief Executive Officer Ronald Karuri couldn’t hide his excitement on their new partnership with KRU.

“This is another momentous occasion for SportPesa to spread its tentacles across Kenya’s sporting terrain. We get hundreds of proposals per month and we consider each one of them carefully. When we sat down with KRU officials, we realised that once you have dealt with football all other games are much easier. I know they have had some corruption allegations before but we’ve ensured that our contract is very tight and it is their development programmes that really attracted us,” said Karuri.

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