The Standard – Kenya: Kenya Premier League season to go on as scheduled | The Standard

The Standard – Kenya: Kenya Premier League season to go on as scheduled | The Standard
Gor Mahia celebrate after winning their Kenya Premier League title at Kenyatta Stadium Machakos on Saturday 25/05/19. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Kenyan premier league is set to go on as scheduled according to a statement seen by Game Yetu.

The decision was reached amidst calls to suspend the KPL league due to financial crisis facing both the league and major clubs after withdrawal of major sponsors.

“On Thursday, October 17, 2019, the KPL governing council resolved that the 2019-20 season shall proceed as scheduled and that clubs must abide by the rules governing Kenyan football. The decision was reached amidst calls to suspend the league while acknowledging that there is a financial crisis in the league and clubs after withdrawal of its major sponsor,” read part of the statement.

The KPL governing council also stated that they have approached various corporates but due to the current economic situation, most offers tabled to not meet the demands of the league.

“The League is committed to continuously improve the product, use football as a force for good, support football development and act with integrity for the sake of its reputation and sanity. It takes time to formalise any sponsorship deal since most corporates operate on running budgets which were already set at the beginning of their respective financial year,” the statement read.

The premiership governing body now pleads with the Government for support to run the league.

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“We would like to formally plead with the Government to step in and provide a short-term financial solution to facilitate smooth running of the league. Notably, some of the teams are struggling to honour 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 and Heritage to first track the completion of the Nyayo National Stadium which is the best arena to showcase the league.”

KPL further stated that, “In the long run, we appeal to the Government to help clubs lobby for a change in the legal regime governing sports in the country which clubs continue to believe would help in financial self-sustainability. In addition, we also appeal for more tax incentives to corporates that are supporting the sport and other football stakeholders (fans, corporates) to come and support the beautiful game.”

Football clubs are in a financial crisis after the official sponsor of the league SportPesa cut off all sports sponsorship in August.

The gaming firm stopped its operation in Kenya after the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) declined to renew the firm’s operating license.

Early this month, KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda hinted they could stop the league last weekend, as their staff have gone without salaries for months.

Major beneficiaries of SportPesa sponsorship such as Gor Mahia are feeling the heat of firm’s exit as players went on a go-slow due to unpaid salaries and allowances since August.

On the other hand, AFC Leopards players also refused to play against Sony Sugar earlier this month citing lack of paid salaries and allowances for the last two months.

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