Kenyan Premier League terminates BetKing sponsorship deal

By Robert Fletcher

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and BetKing have reached a mutual agreement to end the online gambling operator’s title sponsorship of the Kenyan Premier League and Division One League.

Nigeria-based BetKing in July last year signed a five-year deal worth approximately KES1.2bn (£7.9m/€9.4m/$11/0m) to sponsor both competitions.

However, the FKF and BetKing reached an arrangement to end the deal four years early, with the operator stepping down as title sponsor with immediate effect.

The FKF did not disclose the reasons behind the decisions, but it did state that it appreciated BetKing’s “support and partnership over the past season”.

“Unreservedly, FKF confirms that the support received from BetKing has played a crucial part in fostering the growth of the local football game,” the FKF said. “FKF confirms that the support of BetKing Kenya has been immense and has helped sustain FKF’s football development programs by a considerable measure.

“BetKing Kenya equally appreciates the opportunity to sponsor the leagues in line with BetKing’s brand mission. BetKing remains committed to participating in the growth of Kenya’s sporting talents particularly at the grassroots levels through solid and long-term partnerships.”

The original agreement saw BetKing become the first title sponsor of the top-tier Premier League since SportPesa withdrew from the Kenyan market in 2019.

The league had been without an official sponsor since Kenya’s largest betting operator, Sportpesa, ceased all sponsorships in its home country in August 2019 after a dispute with authorities over taxes. This left several clubs in the country requesting donations from fans in order to continue paying players.

The deal with BetKing had seen Premier League clubs receive KSS8.0m.

SportPesa has since returned to the market, restarting operations in November last year.

Its criticism of proposed tax laws in the country and pressure on the government saw the country take on new regulations last month, with President Uhuru Kenyatta signing into law a new 7.5% tax on gambling stakes, a reduction from the proposed 20%.

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