Gor, Leopards to pull out of CAF competitions


Kenyan Premier League (KPL) action between AFC Leopards and Sony Sugar at the Kericho Green ...
Kenyan Premier League (KPL) action between AFC Leopards and Sony Sugar at the Kericho Green Stadium. Sony won 1-0. (PPHOTO/Sportpicha.com)

Local giants Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards SC will petition the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to withdraw from the 2018 Champions League and Confederations Cup.

This is after their sponsors officially announced they had cancelled all local partnerships on Tuesday, in a move that plunged the Kenyan sporting industry into crisis.

This is after the private equity firm lost a case last week in the country’s High Court challenging the implementation of a 35 percent Government tax on revenue that came in force on Monday.

“Unfortunately, we lost the case and effective immediately and we regret this decision, we have no choice but to cancel all sponsorships,” the company CEO announced confirming fears that have been circulating since Thursday when the court ruled against the gaming firm.

Reacting to the development, Gor chairman, Ambrose Rachier, said they would hold a crisis meeting later Tuesday where they would write to continental body, CAF, stating their withdrawal from the 2018 Champions League.

“A one-way air ticket is costing KSh3.5m, accommodation, KSh3m and we will need KSh10m for one match, to and from and we cannot sustain that budget.

“Our gate collections are not enough to cater for that expense and also pay players and technical bench, we are in dilemma. This is tantamount to killing football in the country. No Kenyan club is going to successfully stay in the 2018 KPL,” Rachier lamented.

His Leopards counterpart, Dan Mule, also said his team who won the 2017 GOtv Shield will follow suit and withdraw from the 2018 CAF Confederations Cup.

“We have no sponsors right now. We are going to withdraw from CAF assignments. We are urging other like-minded corporates to support community clubs in Kenya.

“I don’t know how we will pay the 10 international players we have signed ahead of the season,” Mule told.

Besides Gor and Leopards, other organisations staring at a bleak future include Football Kenya Federation, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) and the Boxing Association of Kenya are the federations affected by the move to terminate their biggest source of funding.

The multinational company was also catering for the bulk of the pay for newly hired national football team head coach, Belgian Paul Put and Technical Director, Andreas Spiers from Germany.

The Kenyan Premier League (football), National Boxing League as well as the annual Super 8 grassroots football tournament are the domestic competitions that will be affected by the move.

“The cancellation of this contract forces us to completely re-examine our structures and we immediately call upon the government to step into the breach and provide the necessary support as guided by the Sports Act.

Our 2018 calendar includes the Rugby Africa Championships for our U20s in April, Lionesses participation at the HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series qualifiers in Hong Kong and as well as the Commonwealth Games, and the Women’s Africa Cup 7s in September,” KRU added in a statement.

Second division side; Nakuru AllStars FC and Kenya Harlequins (Rugby) are the other teams lost their main sponsors on Tuesday.

World Boxing Council women’s Super-bantamweight champion, Fatuma Zarika, local rally driver, Leonardo Varese and a number of grassroot tournaments are others affected by the drastic move.

According to the CEO, the company will lodge and appeal against the ruling.

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