Kenya Simbas win the Elgon Cup. /KRU

The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) now wants the government to immediately step in and fill the gap on sponsorship after the Sportpesa pullout on Tuesday January 2.

KRU stated that they had received with great dismay the cancellation of its partnership with SportPesa.

“The cancellation of this contract forces us to completely reexamine 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,” KRU explained in a statement published on its website.

The union explained that SportPesa had been a key partner in sport planning and growth supporting their sporting activities at every level.

SportPesa officially cancelled all local sports sponsorship following the implementation of the 35 percent taxation by the government.

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri said on Tuesday their withdrawal move was to ensure that they stay afloat and sustain their operations in the Kenyan market.

Noting that the withdrawal would immediately take effect, Karauri confirmed they have written to all sports teams and federation that they support.

He observed that they would save Sh600m annually as a result of their sponsorship withdrawal.

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KRU elaborated that the latest development was a threat to their sporting schedule in 2018 and 2019.

“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.”

The national 15s team Simba will play in the Africa Gold Cup which in 2018 will serve as the African qualifiers for the 2019 Rugby World Cup with Rugby World Cup qualification this year. The national 7s team- Shujaa on the other hand will be taking part in the World Series between January and May this year. Shujaa is set to participate in the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April as well as the Rugby 7s World Cup in San Francisco in July this year.

KRU pleaded for “huge support” to manage their planned sporting course.  It mentioned that it would immediately seek audience with the Sports Cabinet Secretary to explore ways of resolving the impending tight spot.