SportPesa Chief Executive Officer Ronald Karauri has blamed Kenyans for not supporting the betting firm which currently is experiencing business turbulence.
Karauri made the comments on Monday on Twitter, accusing unnamed Kenyans of “bringing down their own” hours after English Premier League club Everton announced it was pulling the plug on a sponsorship deal with the Kenyan betting firm.
Karauri was forced to react following a series of tweets from city lawyer Donald Kipkorir which appeared to support Everton’s decision.
Kipkorir had wondered why poor Kenyans appear ‘excited’ by gambling.
“Ireland then now England is terminating all contracts with SportPesa. These are highly developed countries who have decided to do away with gambling in Sports… Kenya, a poor and miserable country is excited with gambling and Prime Time News is even sponsored by Betting companies,” Kipkorir tweeted.
To this Karauri responded by saying:
“The biggest betting company in the world – Bet365 – resides in England. Kenyans love bringing down their own, and now the same Bet365 is probably the most popular betting site in Kenya, more revenue for them and more tax revenue for the UK.”
Everton on Sunday announced it will terminate its sponsorship with SportPesa, a deal reportedly worth Sh911 million a year, at the end of the 2019/2020 league season. This partnership still had two years to run.
The development comes weeks after Ireland’s Football Association also terminated a sponsorship deal with SportPesa.
Last August, SportPesa also pulled the plug on a number of multi-million shilling sponsorship deals with Kenyan sports firms including Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Kenyan Premier League, Football Kenya Federation, and Kenya Rugby Union after the government temporarily cancelled its betting licence.
But SportPesa still boasts other deals with English Championship side Hull City, Italian top-flight club Torino, Tanzanian sides, Yanga, Simba, Singida United and Namungo as well as South Africa’s Cape Town City.