The government has set aside Sh500 million to assist clubs, federations and individuals affected by the withdrawal of sponsorship by betting giants SportPesa.
Speaking during the 14th edition of the Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Award (Soya) gala at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre on Wednesday night, Deputy President William Ruto said the government will step in to cushion the affected sporting entities.
“I know that there are gaps that have arisen with the withdrawal of some sponsors but I want to say this evening that the Government of Kenya will step in and eliminate these gaps.
“We have provided the Sh500 million to eliminate the gaps that have been occasioned by these withdrawals,” Ruto said.
SportPesa walked out on long-term sponsorship deals valued at about Sh600 million annually early this month after they lost an appeal in a case they sought to stop the government from imposing a 35 per cent tax on betting revenues.
Affected entities include Football Kenya Federation, Kenya Rugby Union, Boxing Association of Kenya, plus football clubs Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Nakuru All Stars, and famed professional boxer Fatuma Zarika.
On Tuesday, KRU indicated it would terminate all contracts of players and technical bench officials. KRU and SportPesa signed a five-year partnership deal worth Sh607 million towards the end of 2016.
The deal enabled “Shujaa” — the national sevens team — the 15s team and women’s team, the “Lionesses”, benefit from the sponsorship.
Ruto said paying taxes was not optional.
“Paying taxes is a must for all of us and it is not negotiable. I want to thank all corporates that support sport and urge them to continue doing so even if as they continue paying taxes,” the Deputy President added.