Boxing federation threatens to lead Commonwealth Games boycott

BAK President says federations will meet on Friday ‘to chart the way forward’.

Boxing Association of Kenya President John Kameta addresses journalists in Mombasa on January 2, 2018. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT |NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IN SUMMARY

  • John Kameta, the BAK President told a press conference at Serani in Mombasa on Tuesday that boxing stands to lose Sh22 million in sponsorship from SportsPesa.
  • Kameta challenged Sports CS Hassan Wario to fulfil the government’s pledge of Sh20m to support boxing made by the minister during the launch of SportPesa’s boxing sponsorship in Mombasa last year.

The Boxing Federation of Kenya (BAK) is threatening to rally other federations to boycott April’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, if the government fails to rescind its decision to impose increased taxes on gaming companies.

John Kameta, the BAK President told a press conference at Serani in Mombasa on Tuesday that boxing stands to lose Sh22 million in sponsorship from SportsPesa after the company announced it had withdrawn its sponsorship for the sport following the government’s imposition of a 35 per cent tax on all gaming concerns.

A visibly angry Kameta said it was unfortunate that the government has “decided to ignore sports in total” and wondered what plans the government had for the thousands of youth who were benefiting from different sponsorships.

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“I just do not know who advises the President who seems to be completely out of touch with the reality on the ground on how SportPesa, in particular, is spending a fortune on the youth through sponsorship of football, rugby, boxing, to name but a few,” Kameta said.

SLEPING ON THE JOB

He who blamed Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario for “sleeping on the job.”

Kameta said SportPesa  had done much more than the government in promoting sports since it came into the Kenyan market, arguing that a majority of the youth involved in criminal activities got an opportunity to garner some income through sports sponsored by the gaming companies.

“I do not even have guts to face my boxers, referees and judges to start explaining to them that the transportation to match venues, allowances and cash prices they were getting courtesy of SportPesa are no more since a majority of them will now abandon the sport,” he said.

PRESSURE

Kameta said “it will no longer be business as usual” as the sports federations will meet on January 5 (Friday) in Nairobi “to map out a strategy that will pressure the government to either rescind their decision or fill the gaps left by the gaming industry.”

“The Kenyan government has long under-supported sportsmen and women of this country with the current Sports CS failing to attend a single boxing league event in the five years he has held that docket.

“But the SportPesa CEO has always been with us,” Kameta said.

He challenged Wario to fulfil the government’s pledge of Sh20 million to support boxing made by the minister during the launch of SportPesa’s boxing sponsorship in Mombasa last year.

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