Former Kenyan Premier League champions Mathare United have questioned the transparency of the disbursement of the government’s stimulus package meant to quell the effects of Covid -19 among athletes in different sporting disciplines.
Sporting activities came to a halt two months ago when Kenya recorded her first case of coronavirus on March 13th rendering many sportsmen and women jobless and bankrupt as their sources of livelihood had been dealt a deadly blow by the virus.
As a way of cushioning athletes against the ravages occasioned by the particular pandemic, the government through the Ministry of Sports and Culture has moved forth to salvage the situation by offering financial aid to vulnerable groups.
Nairobi based KPL giants comprising of AFC Leopards and Sofapaka were among the shortlisted clubs that will benefit from the relief program in the next 90 days.
However, Mathare United are questioning the Sports ministry’s transparency in expenditure and allocation in the entire process.
“Last week the Ministry announced KSh20 million had been allocated to help 420 KPL players and officials with a Sh10,000 monthly grant for the next three months. That adds up to KSh12.6 million. Can you kindly clarify how the balance of KSh7.4 million will be used?
“Based on government documents, it is reported that the betting industry monthly revenue in May 2019 was KSh30 billion. Taking into account the 15 per cent Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) tax plus the 20 per cent withholding tax on winners’ pay-outs, the Sports Fund should have received at least KSh5.8 billion in May 2019 and, with similar revenue in other months, at least KSh70 billion in 2019. Under the revised 2018 Sports Fund regulations, 35 per cent of its revenue is allocated to sports. Can you kindly clarify how the over KSh 24b for sports was used and/or allocated,” the club stated.
The Slum Boys further lamented that the disbursement is a drop in the ocean and cannot offer a lasting solution to club’s existing financial crises at the moment.
Despite the 2008 KPL winners enjoying an annual KSh30 Million sponsorship deal courtesy of a local betting company Mozzart Bet, the Salim Ali-coached side has not been spared from the financial constraints that befell KPL since its title sponsor, Sportpesa, closed shop in Kenya last year.
“With only a few exceptions, our players and officials were raised in poor families and are solely dependent of their salaries to maintain their own family. In most cases, they also use their salaries to support members of their extended family such as parents and siblings.
“As you know, in 2019 our teams were forced to play a full season plus an additional half on our already tight one season annual budgets. As a result, our team as well as the majority of other KPL teams have struggled financially since mid-2019.
“With the stoppage of KPL matches in early March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our team is unfortunately among that majority of KPL teams unable to pay full salaries tor March and subsequent two months.”
The club has written to Deputy Sports Commissioner Jaxon Indakwa and signed by Mathare United Chairperson Bob Munro and CEO Jecton Obure.