The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) will go on as scheduled, despite calls from a number of stakeholders to suspend the league owing to financial constraints, a situation that has deteriorated in the 2019/20 season.
Just five matches into the season, a number of clubs have stated increased difficulty in honoring their obligations and one – Sony Sugar – has already failed to show up for a league game.
The crisis was further intensified by the walkout of one of the major sponsors to the league and two of the teams in the league – SportPesa – who cited an untenable working environment after running into headwinds with the government.
At the height of the calls, the KPL Governing Council met and on Thursday 17 October declared that while it continues to source for funds to oil the smooth operation of the top flight, clubs must fulfill their obligations.
“Clubs must abide by the Rules Governing Kenyan Football,” stated a communique from the KPL.
KPL states in the communique that the biggest stumbling block in getting new financial streams is the fact that most potential corporate partners are in between their financial years and getting a commitment for the league has proven tough.
“We have approached various corporates but due to the current economic situation in the country, the offers being tabled do not meet the demands of the League. It takes time to formalize any sponsorship deal since most corporates operate on running budgets which were already set in the beginning of their respective financial year,” it further notes.
In the meantime, KPL has floated an appeal to the government to step in and help not just in the situation but also in the improvement of pitches to aid ease the burden on clubs.
“We would like to formally plead with the Government to step in and provide a short term financial solution to facilitate the smooth running of the League. Notably, some of the teams are actually struggling to honor both local and international matches whilst players and officials risk losing their employment.
“Our further appeal is specifically extended to the PS State Department of Sports, Ministry of Sports, Culture & Heritage to fast track the completion of Nyayo National Stadium which is the best arena to showcase the League,” the statement reads further.
As the league management grapples with the situation, the season is set to enter Round 6 starting Saturday 19 October, with nine matches lined up for the weekend.