Gor Mahia players celebrate with the SportPesa Premier League trophy during the handing over ceremony at Moi Stadium in Kisumu on November 18, 2017. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDIGor Mahia players celebrate with the SportPesa Premier League trophy during the handing over ceremony at Moi Stadium in Kisumu on November 18, 2017. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI
By NAHASHON MUSUNGU

The government has committed an initial Sh50 million towards funding the 2018 Kenya Premier League campaign, Nairobi News understands.

Plans are also afoot for the Sports Ministry to entirely fund the expenses incurred by Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards in their respective continental campaigns this season.

This is the clearest hint that government doesn’t intend to reconsider the new tax levy on betting firms that took effect this month.

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa has already presented the draft budgets for the aforementioned teams to the Sports department. Approvals are expected within the course of the week.

The government’s commitment towards funding these activities comes barely a week after SportPesa withdrew its sponsorship for all local teams and sports federations that was estimated to be worth Sh600 million annually.

SPONSORSHIP DEALS

In justifying the move, SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri explained that the firm cannot sustain paying upto 35 percent tax on all their revenues, and still sponsor sports federations and clubs.

“SportPesa might have pulled out but there is no crisis,” Sport PS Kirimi Kaberia explained.

“The positive part is we now have an opportunity to address this stalemate once and for all. We will also be involved in all sponsorship deals signed between the federation and sports federations in future.”

The affected deals include the estimated Sh80 million the Kenya Premier League received from SportPesa each year.

AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia also had a deal valued at approximately Sh100 million from the giant gaming firm each year.

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