Safaricom withdraws sevens tournament sponsorship
East African rugby enthusiasts are staring at a boring September, devoid of the signature sights, sounds and exciting atmosphere that comes along with the annual three-day rugby extravaganza that is the Safaricom Sevens.
This follows an expected announcement by the giant telecommunications firm on Thursday to formally severe all financial ties with the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU).
“We feel that the ongoing issues affecting the organizing bodies of the sport have shifted focus from the game. We have decided to withdraw our support on that basis,” Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.
Consequently, KRU stands to miss out on accumulated annual Sh 70 million sponsorship.
A three year deal between the two institutions was set to lapse in December 2015.
This implies that unless KRU secures another sponsor for the Sevens tournament, an international rugby event that attracts top sides from as far as South Africa, Australia and England, then the competition might not take place.
KRU Chairman Richard Omwela, has however opted to put up a brave face on the wake of this development.
“This incident is regrettable, especially considering circumstances surrounding the same. Safaricom had their mind made up and did not even give us an opportunity to explain ourselves. We now have to look out to other companies, or even approach Tusker (East Africa Breweries Limited) to take their tournament back,” Omwela told Nairobi News.
The rugby sevens circuit sevens series, that comprises the Dala, Driftwood, Christie, Prinsloo and Kabeberi Sevens, is also under risk of not taking place.
So there is a chance this event that comes with watching the finest rugby talents, free flowing beer, juicy nyama choma topped up with a display of some of the most skimpily dressed beauties in Nairobi might not happen after all.
Watch this space!