Sports betting firm SportPesa has signed a deal with the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) to become the official title sponsor for the next four and a half years.
The league will now be called the SportsPesa Premier League and will run until the end of the 2019 season.
The value of the deal was not disclosed but KPL Chairman Ambrose Rachier confirmed that it would be more than the amount of the three-year naming rights agreement that the league had with a beer brand Tusker for KES170 million ($1m).
SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri said that the betting company’s long term plan was to improve the quality of the league and ensure that Kenya featured prominently in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The sports betting company has been spreading its wings by sponsoring a number of sports events in the country and yesterday, they scored big by securing the sponsorship of the country’s top tier league.
“This country has a lot of sporting talent, and that we confirmed when we were involved in the Super Eight competitions. We have several targets we want to achieve before the end of the deal. First we want to do everything possible to ensure that the fans come back to the stadium,” said Karauri.
“We have agreed to keep the financial details of the sponsorship secret for various reasons, but I assure you that the money coming in is significantly higher than what we were getting initially and we are very happy,” said Rachier. “We want to use this sponsorship to strengthen further our league and the clubs. Our overall objective is to make KPL the best league in Africa and beyond.”
The Kenyan Premier League-SportPesa agreement as “null and void”
Meanshile, the country’s football governing body Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has noted that the agreement between the KPL and SportPesa is “null and void.”
According to Goal reports, FKF President Sam Nyamweya wrote a letter to Rachier saying that the contract is invalid because the federation was not involved in the process.
“I write to you on the aforementioned subject in your capacity as chairman of Kenyan Premier League Limited to express Football Kenya Federation’s unreserved concerns over this matter. May I point from the outset that the contract is invalid to the extent that FKF was neither involved nor informed of the negotiations or conclusion of the contract, contrary to FKF and FIFA Statutes.” wrote Nyamweya.
“It is noteworthy that, during the meetings with Fifa delegation, it was put categorically to you that contracts entered into without the knowledge and consent of the federation shall be null and void because such shall be in contradiction with Articles 78 & 79 of the FKF and Fifa Statutes.”
In a letter, Nyamweya also said that KPL has been ignoring meeting requests to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which provides the framework of how the KPL and FKF will engage in sponsorships.
SportPesa’s sponsorship to the league will remain null and void until it is approved by the federation in due process.