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Blow for KPL, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards as SportPesa cancels sponsorship deals

17:52 BST 09/08/2019
Ernest Wendo of Gor Mahia v Vincent Oburu of AFC Leopards.
The betting firm has cancelled its sponsorship deals with all sporting outfits in the country

Betting firm SportPesa has withdrawn all its sports sponsorships deals due to an ongoing battle with the Kenyan government.

The government cancelled operation licences for 27 betting firms including SportPesa and now the firm has withdrawn from sponsoring sports which means the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards will be affected.

The gaming firm was the KPL's title sponsor.

"We regrettably wish to announce that due to the uncertainty of this situation [cancellation of the licence] SportPesa will be cancelling sports sponsorships effective immediately. All clubs and partners will have received notices as provided for in their contracts," Sportpesa said in a statement seen by Goal.

The giant betting firm promised to resume its sponsorship deals the moment their license will be renewed by the government.

"This despite the existence of a court order prohibiting the regulator from taking such actions. We greatly value our partnerships and we will endeavour to resume support to the best of our ability when the business recovers," the statement added.

The development comes just weeks before the new 2019/20 season resumes with Gor Mahia having an extra responsibility of representing the country in the Caf Champions League.

In the last deal signed in 2018, the firm had given the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) a total of Shs69 million, with Kenya Premier League (KPL) receiving Shs259 million. KPL champions Gor Mahia received Shs198 million while their arch-rivals AFC Leopards bagged Shs159 million.