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AFC Leopards plead with government to stop potential 20% excise tax bill

The possible adoption of the proposals in the legislation, which drove SportPesa away, would see more taxation applied on the states wagered

AFC Leopards have pleaded with the government to stop the reintroduction of the 20% excise tax bill on betting stakes.
Initially, the bill was dropped after key stakeholders, including SportPesa – who quit the Kenyan market in protest – but the state is now debating the topic in parliament.
The bill – that was republished last week after being submitted to the national assembly at the end of April – states that excise duty on betting shall be 20% of the amount wagered or staked.

“As we await the national assembly’s pronouncement of budget policy highlights for 2021/2022, we wish to bring to the attention of the public, members of parliament and the government the potential negative impact envisaged by the sports sector and, particularly, the football sector in Kenya, should the 20% excise tax be enacted,” AFC Leopards stated.

“The enactment of this law will render all clubs currently supported and sponsored by various betting firms unable to continue with their operations:

“Sponsorships have kept clubs and ostensibly the football league itself in operation and aided in the development of players and clubs. This is true for other sports that benefit from similar sponsorships. Between 2016-2020, over Ksh1.6 billion has been invested in local clubs and millions more in TV rights, advertising and merchandise, which has helped grow the stature of football clubs in Kenya.

“After a fan-less season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our clubs have been largely dependent on the support of our sponsorship partners. We are not out of the woods yet with an unpredictable future and no foreseeable projected return to full stadiums.

“The enactment of the 20% excise tax will unequivocally rule out continued sponsorship of football clubs across all tiers [National Super League, Division One and County Leagues], with the net effect of rendering the operations of most of the league teams unsustainable. 

“As you may be aware our clubs have been facing extremely challenging financial times and with this tax, which will render our primary sponsors unable to continue with their partnerships, it will certainly be an own goal on Kenyan football as it would disrupt if not force a suspension of the second half of the season. This would also have an adverse effect on the much-anticipated 2022 season, which was supposed to be the grand re-launch of Kenya’s fully-fledged top-flight football.”

Ingwe has urged the government to listen to sports stakeholders, halt the push, and set aside the bill: “This is not the first time the excise tax has been proposed for adoption into law, and the wisdom that prevailed in the previous suspension of activities, given the projected impact on the sports sector, must prevail once more.”

“This is particularly necessary at this time given the challenges we continue to face with the Covid-19 restrictions.

“We as representatives of the top-tier football clubs in Kenya and by extension the sports fraternity, feel that this tax proposal is ill-timed and makes a strong appeal to the government and members of parliament to make special considerations for this exigent matter and give the sports fraternity a fighting chance during these difficult times.”

The exit of SportPesa in 2019 saw Premier League clubs struggle immensely and Sony Sugar were relegated for giving out three walkovers.

FKF Premier League side AFC Leopards have called on the government to stop the push to have the 20% excise tax bill on betting adopted by parliament.

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