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SportPesa exit: KPL league may not kick off on August 31 – Oguda

20:01 GMT+3 09/08/2019
Gor Mahia players with KPL trophy.
The exit of the title sponsors throws the kick off dates for the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) into doubt

Kenyan Premier League (KPL) CEO Jack Oguda has stated the withdrawal of title sponsors SportPesa will affect the kickoff dates for the new season.

SportPesa confirmed on Friday they have pulled out of sponsoring all sports-related activities in the country after a prolonged battle with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over taxes.

In a statement, the firm said, “We regrettably wish to announce that due to the uncertainty of this situation, SportPesa will be cancelling sports sponsorships effective immediately.

“All clubs and partners will have received notices as provided for in their contracts.”

The move according to Oguda has now affected their plans for the new season which was scheduled to kick off on August 31. SportPesa is the main sponsor of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL).

“It is a huge blow for us now because the decision by SportPesa has scuttled all the plans we had for the new season,” Oguda told Goal in an interview.

“We had already planned to kick off the season on August 31 but now we will have to convene a meeting, maybe earlier next week to chat the way forward, but what I know it will not be possible to start the season without a sponsor.

“It will be a challenge for the teams who have been depending on money from the sponsor to honour their day to day activities, even pay players salaries and also travel for away matches.

“We have been thrown back to those days [1995] when we used to run the league without a sponsor, it is very difficult to make it now and the next move will be decided by the owners of the league, who are the clubs.”

On April 1, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i vowed to introduce tough measures to regulate the betting sector, which he accused of leading the youth astray.

He gave all firms three months up to July 1 to seek fresh renewal of licenses upon proving tax compliance.

Among the conditions that betting and gaming firms had to meet before having their licences renewed is to be tax-compliant.

SportPesa is among the 27 betting firms whose licences the government refused to renew over a tax row.