Tough times beckon as KPL rolls out without financial assurance

The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) is set to kick off on Friday 30 August but heading to the 2019/20 season, clubs, referees and all other stakeholders are staring at uncertain times, with the league management revealing it is facing tough financial times.

Citing tough business environment, the league’s title sponsor, betting firm SportPesa pulled out of all its agreements with sports entities in the country after an impasse with the Kenya government over new betting tax laws and KPL CEO Jack Oguda has confirmed the immediate future of the league is bleak.

New financier

The betting giant pulled out of its Kshs 80m a season deal on Friday 9 August and Oguda says they immediately sprung to action in search of a new financier.

“Immediately they informed us we got to action and we have been engaging a number of entities for the same. Getting a new sponsor could take between three to six months so in reality, we are set for hard times as a league but I remain optimistic a solution will be found,” he told Soka.

With SportPesa pulling out, the effect will not only be felt the KPL secretariat level, clubs will not get their monthly grants, the league management may be unable to pay referees and there will also be no KPL awards this time.

No awards

“We will have challenges managing the logistical issues at office level and we may also not be able to pay the referees. As for the awards, SportPesa have been the main sponsors, which means without them we can’t have the gala. It is really tough,” he added.

SportPesa’s withdrawal will hit KPL really hard, coming just two years after broadcast giants, SuperSport also pulled out.

KPL giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, who are sponsored by SportPesa will also be greatly affected.