Stakeholders appeal to Uhuru to help KPL players
President Uhuru Kenyatta signs a football ball at State House Nairobi when KPL club AFC Leopards Football Club paid a courtesy call last month PHOTO/COURTESY

Departure of betting companies has severely hit local sport

Leaders request Head of State to give grants from Sports Arts and Social Development Fund to suffering top tier league players.

Football stakeholders have sent a passionate appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta to consider measures to alleviate Kenya’s top tier league in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clubs, which were already on their knees following a crackdown on betting companies, are facing a bleak future as competition’s managers are unsure of when to restart the current season.

Led by former FKF president Sam Nyamweya, the stakeholders said: “It is our passionate appeal that the President considers intervening and directing the Sports Arts and Social Development Fund to release financial grants to the Kenyan Premier League clubs to assist in alleviating and mitigating against the economic challenges faced by the KPL players and their families.”

The KPL lost their title sponsors SportPesa with Betin Kenya also closing business in the wake of a government crackdown. Apart from sponsoring the KPL, SportPesa also had a Sh65million deal with record champions Gor Mahia and Sh58million with AFC Leopards.

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In a letter signed by Nyamweya on behalf of the stakeholders, they said: “Besides KPL being the top-tier league, it forms the backbone of our national football team Harambnee Stars, the pride of our nation and great ambassadors of our beloved nation Kenya.”

The stakeholders pleaded further: “Your Excellency, the past six months has seen our players go through extremely difficult times, being unable to pay for their house rent and eventually kicked out, unable to feed their families, pay school fees for their children, medical bills for their families and dependents.”

“These COVID-19 pandemic has worsened matters. The players rely solely on playing football as a profession and as means of earning to fend for their families and dependents, who are in their thousands.”

“We are indeed humbled by your foresight, your excellency, in combating the pandemic, specifically your clarion call during the national prayer day on March 21 that as a nation we believe in the Almighty God for protection, perseveration and healing while acknowledging the place of science.”

“With that in mind, Mr. President, respective KPL clubs have taken measure to educate their players on staying safe. We plead, your Excellency, that you intervene through the Sports Fund to alleviate the plight of the players,” Nyamweya said.

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