Sportpesa, Taxman Reconciliation Bites Local Football Clubs

Sportpesa, withdraws sponsorships
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Sportpesa has been a major sponsor of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) and delved deeper into supporting two clubs that participate in the top-tier namely AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia. The betting firm has been spending Ksh96 million directly on KPL, Ksh55 million on AFC and Ksh65 million on Gor Mahia.

After coming to terms with the taxman to resume operations once cleared by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), SportPesa has ruled out full sponsorship to the local clubs. Sportpesa Chief Executive Ronald Karauri said the firm would only support a few football clubs on need basis once it resumes operations.

“Sportpesa will not support all football clubs in the country. We will see which ones to support,” said Mr. Karauri.

It has since been cleared by the Kenya Revenue Authority, setting the stage for its return to operations after a two-month absence. The next phase of sponsorship will, however, be uncertain. On July 10, in an official letter to Telecommunications companies Safaricom PLC, Airtel and Telkom, the Betting Control and Licensing Board Acting Director Liti Wambua, ordered the withdrawal of pay bill numbers and SMS code for 27 betting firms whose licenses have failed to meet the outstanding renewal requirements, Sportpesa included.

Mr. Karauri said that all pending issues had been settled and a deal reached which should see the firm get back to business as soon as BCLB clears it.

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