Gor Mahia, one of the many teams most likely to be hit hard by the pending SportPesa withdrawal from Kenyan market is appealing to the government to rethink her decision of 35 percent tax revenue imposed on gaming firms.
SportPesa on Thursday lost a case where they were challenging the high taxation, and the gaming giants responded by threatening to pull out from all sponsorship deals previously entered by various entities in the local sports scene including their engagement with Harambee Stars and AFC Leopards.
The decision left Gor Mahia who has a sponsorship deal with SportPesa on their bending knees as they plead with the government to rethink the move that now threatens to open the old memories where players boycott was synonymous with the Kenyan football giants following delayed payment of salaries.
“It is with utmost regret that one day to the New Year, the sports fraternity has been plunged into chaos as its key investors - gaming companies - face a bleak future in a new era of excessively high tax,” Gor Mahia chairman, Ambrose Rachier pleaded in a statement.
“While we are appreciative of the fact that the government wants to set up a sports fund with the increased revenue from these companies, we are wary of implementation and modalities of this fund.
“Gor Mahia has been through thick and thin over the years. Before SportPesa came into the picture, we struggled... We went from selling bread to raise funds for the club to remain operational and pay players’ salaries, to setting up an M-Pesa PayBill number.
Rachier added that SportPesa withdrawal now threatens the club’s chances of taking part in the 2018 Caf Champions League.
"We are a few weeks away from kick off of our continental matches in the 2018 CAF Champions League which starts in February. Traversing the continent to honor our fixtures is an expensive affair which Gor Mahia cannot afford on its own.”
The Kenyan champions, as well as GOtv winners, AFC Leopards will take part in the Caf Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup from February and March respectively.