CS Balala cancels Shujaa’s 20m Brand Kenya sponsorship
Tourism CS Najib Balala has terminated a 20 million contract with KRU after Make it Kenya logo was hidden
A furious Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has cancelled Brand Kenya’s Sh 20m sponsorship for the national sevens team over what he termed as breach of contract and embarrassing the country abroad.
The Sevens team sealed the ‘Make it Kenya’ logo from their jerseys during the Paris leg of the World Sevens series in protest of lack of pay. However, Brand Kenya released a statement later saying they had paid their end to the Kenya Rugby Union.
It is the Union on its end that failed to pay the players a sum amounting to Sh2.5mn.
“You can’t promise to give us publicity and then in an international event we lose that publicity. No way, not under my docket. They can do it in other dockets not mine. KRU we are disappointed. We thought you guys are professionals but we are disappointed,” Balala said as he addressed a Workshop in Mombasa on Thursday.
He added on that his Ministry under which Brand Kenya falls had been on an effort to use the sports people to market the country, pointing out the Kenya Tourism Board marketing its destinations through athletes.
“I was embarrassed to see the players covering the name Kenya on their jerseys. This is not just any other brand. This is Kenya at an international event. I have instructed brand Kenya to cancel the contract, call all the players and pay what is owed to them directly,” the angered CS further said.
The cancellation of the sponsorship now puts the Union in a tight financial spot with the team set to compete at the Sevens World Cup in San Francisco next month.
In a quick reaction, the KRU issued press statement as follows;
"The KRU would like to clarify its position with Brand Kenya and the partnership. The Kenya Rugby Union would like to thank the Government and Brand Kenya for their support at a time when the Union is going through a difficult phase.
1. KRU signed a Ksh 20M sponsorship deal with Brand Kenya. As per the contract, 20% ( KSh 4M) was paid into the KRU account.
2. As part of this package the Men’s 7’s team would receive a token of appreciation each of KSh 100,000. This was due to their performance in various legs of the World Sevens Series and especially after the event in Vancouver, Canada where they reached the finals of the tournament.
3. This money was not payment for appearances, bonuses or allowances. It was a one off token of appreciation and this was clearly explained to the players.
4. It was the expectation that this payment would be received before they left for the last leg of the World Sevens Series. Thi s money hit our account after the team had left.
5. Due to unforeseen circumstances, this money was received in our accounts on 4th June 2018
6. The money was used for 7’s team preparation and travel to London and Paris, as well as 15’s preparation.
7. The delay in payment to players was clearly communicated the team via its management.
8. The consequences of their actions were also clearly communicated to the Team, before they took this step.
9. The Team was also told that they would be paid upon their return to Kenya at which time we expected our finances to have improved with funding from government and sponsors
10. We have met with Brand Kenya and explained our position to them and the reasons why the players did not receive their token of appreciation in time.
11. It is unfortunate that the stories doing the rounds in the media only carry one half of the story.
12. We have documentation proving all the above as a true record of what has transpired since the start of this journey with Brand Kenya
13. Some of our obligations are funded directly by the Directors of the Union to ensure continuity of the programmes.
14. The KRU would like to once again, offer its apologies to the citizens of Kenya, the government of Kenya, Sponsors and all our supporters who have carried us this far.
15. We are taking measures to ensure that this sort of situation does not happen again."