SportPesa say the decision by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to bar Gor Mahia and Simba SC from donning branded kits in the continental games is ‘unfair’.
The betting firm’s Chief Executive Officer, Ronald Karauri adds that it doesn’t make economic sense for the giant gaming firm to bankroll these two regional giants in sponsorship cash to the tune of tens of millions of shillings, and then watch as they are denied brand visibility during the matches.
“I also believe it’s unfair because it’s quite unprecedented. Then again as sponsors, we have been a big part of them (Gor Mahia and Simba) qualifying for the tournament, said Karauri.
“When Barclays were sponsoring the (English) Premier League, they never barred Liverpool from having Standard Chartered on their shirts, even though they were barred from perimeter boards.
Gor Mahia and Simba have been forced to compete in the group stages of the Confederation Cup and Caf Champions League respectively without donning the traditional ‘SportPesa’ branded kits.
This will continue this weekend with the Kenyan champions traveling to face NA Hussein Dey in Algeria.
The same applies to the Wekundu wa Msimbazi, who have a home match against Congolese club Vital ‘O’ in a week’s time.
According to Caf, this ban on branding – which has also affected top South African club Orlando Pirates- was enforced so as to protect the economic interests of one of the tournament’s sponsors who – incidentally – are SportPesa’s rival.
“Kindly be informed that the club is not authorised to put the mentioned publicity during the TOTAL Caf Confederations Cup 2019 as it contradicts with the competition sponsor ‘1XBET’,” read Caf’s statement in part.
This ban will be enforced for the remainder of this tournament.
“This is even something that can affect club sponsorships if the sponsors are barred from such tournaments because for example why take care of the expensive travel and accomodation expenses if you have been barred from the tournament as sponsors?” posed Karauri.
Caf has offered Simba and Gor Mahia an alternative to don jerseys with another sponsor but both clubs are yet to take up this option.