No cash, tension palpable , trip in doubt- the agony of rugby union
It remains uncertain if the Kenya Sevens will travel to the Sydney and Hamilton Sevens in Australia and New Zeland respectively slated for next weekend after the Kenya Rugby Union terminated all contracts that it had signed with Shujaa players.
The decision has been necessitated by the union’s inability to pay the players’ salaries and allowances.This has bred tension, confusion and a wait-and-see approach at the Ngong road based union.
The naming of the team was slated for Wednesday morning but this was called off with no proper explanation, even as the officials remain tight-lipped.
Sources intimated to Citizen Digital that the termination of the contracts had bred disquiet within the playing unit; with the KRU top brass keen to avoid a potential backlash that may arise should the named players fail to travel.
KRU has taken a studious silence away from the prying public and media eyes as they pull the strings from behind the scenes, seeking a saving grace from the government.
The termination of the contracts comes barely three weeks after a bookmaker withdrew its sponsorship for sports federations, including the rugby union, owing to the recently passed taxation law on gaming and gambling.
The least paid Kenya Sevens player earns a gross pay of approximately Sh 100, 000 while bonuses include Sh 150,000 for a Cup semifinals appearance and Sh 300,000 for a second-place finish.
In 2016, the Union entered into a five-year sponsorship deal with a gaming firm to a tune of Sh 607 million.
The sponsorship was to cater for the Kenya Sevens, Kenya junior team (Chipu) and the Kenya Lioness.
But with no cash flow, the union is operating on a shoe-string budget and raising funds for its monthly expenditure approximated at Sh 6 million has become a nightmare.
However, the union recently penned a new three-year sponsorship package with Bidco Limited for an undisclosed amount which could be a short-term fix to their perennial financial woes.
If the Kenya Sevens fails to travel for the next two rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series, they could attract the wrath of the global body which caters for flight and accommodation for 12 players and three officials during the 10 rounds of the world tour.
Additional reporting by Bernard Ndong
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