Football Kenya Federation Premier League giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards suffered a major blow Friday after betting firm Betsafe terminated its partnership with one year left on the deal.
Betsafe and the two clubs signed a three-year shirt sponsorship deal worth Sh270 million for both teams cumulatively two years ago.
This means the clubs, which are already financially crippled, will be forced to look for a new sponsor.
AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda and Gor Mahia Secretary General Sam Ochola confirmed the development. They remained optimistic that they will get new sponsors before next season.
“It is true we have received a letter from Betsafe confirming the termination of their sponsorship with us. They have cited difficulties in their business operations which have been in existence since coronavirus hit the country two years ago,” said Shikanda.
“As AFC Leopards we want to thank them because they have assisted us financially and our operations with them have been very smooth. We now have to focus on getting a new sponsor before next season kicks off and I believe we shall succeed."
Ochola said club chairman Ambrose Rachier would issue a communication on the issue later.
“Our focus is now on getting the money for the Madaraka Cup which we won and we understand the government has released it but has not reached us,” said Ochola.
Betsafe CEO Victor Sudi was not available for comment on the matter.
In an interview with Nation Sport last month, Sudi said they had plans to continue investing in football but mostly in grassroot tournaments.
Initially, Gor and AFC Leopards were receiving Sh55 million and Sh40 million per season respectively before the amount was reduced by a half in July 2021 due to effects of the coronavirus pandemic. AFC Leopards were receiving Sh20 million from the reduction while Gor a slightly higher amount.
Betsafe has also been awarding the best players every month for both clubs who have been getting Sh25,000 token and a personalised trophy.
The withdrawal comes at a time Kenyan football is in quagmire due to a Fifa suspension since February.
Apart from Leopards and Gor, Betsafe have been sponsoring Dagoretti Super Cup, Siaya Super Cup, Francis Thairu Cup in Kawangware, Babadogo Super Cup among others.
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Report from the Nation
Aduda blames transition committee for the withdrawal of Betsafe sponsorship
Report from goal.com
Report from goal.com
"Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the sponsor had reduced the money by half, and the clubs were paying the players half of their salaries.
"Now even that half salary is gone. Instead of getting solutions, we are getting more problems. Getting another sponsor on board is not going to be easy. What will happen in the meantime?
"What will happen if by the end of the week Bandari pulls out of its sponsorship or Nzoia Sugar pulls out of the club?"
The K’Ogalo official said the solution will only be available if the transition committee – formed by the Cabinet Secretary of Sports Amina Mohamed – is ready to engage all stakeholders.
"So this confusion must end and people must swallow their pride," he added.
"We do not have a solution and we must get it first. People must sit down and see what it is, and why should people fight over leadership.
"We cannot be sitting pretty in the office thinking the problem will solve itself. It will not solve itself unless we sit at a round table and ‘say this is what is good for the country.’ Can we swallow our pride and ensure that we get back to the fold?"
Aduda also poured cold water on the effort of the 12-member committee to amend the FKF constitution.
"FKF has its own mechanism of solving this problem, can everybody wake up because we have a bigger problem and this is just the beginning," he concluded.
"All these things that people are pretending to be doing, including the transition committee, will not work unless Fifa is on board. How are you going to amend that constitution? Even if you force people to go and adapt it, how will it be ratified?
"You cannot use it if Fifa has not ratified it, and in the meantime, we are under suspension and there is no meaningful communication between Kenya and Fifa.
"Whatever needs to be done, must be done within the confines of the FKF constitution if we want to have Fifa on board."
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