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The betting firm have finally been allowed to return into the market after they were kicked out for a failure to pay tax

Betting firm SportPesa has confirmed their return to the Kenyan market.

SportPesa was among 27 betting firms that had their trading licenses revoked by the government due to failure in meeting tax compliance policies in July 2019.

However, in a signed statement, the betting firm has confirmed they have returned to the Kenyan market and will in the coming weeks explore a wide range of partnerships in the country.

“SportPesa is delighted to resume operations in Kenya,” read the signed statement obtained by Goal. “We are pleased to once again offer gaming services to our customers.

“Over the coming months, we are excited to explore a wide range of new partnerships in the country.”

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri also took to his social media pages to confirm the return of the betting firm by stating: “SportPesa is back! I’m happy to announce that the SportPesa brand is back under a new BCLB licence holder.

“As market leaders, SportPesa will focus on upholding the highest standards of service and responsible gaming. We look forward to working closely with BCLB and all other stakeholders.

“We are excited to explore a wide range of partnerships in Kenya over the coming weeks and months, which will prioritise the development of sports in communities across our great country.”

By the time SportPesa left the Kenyan market, they had pumped at least Sh500million into Kenyan football, as they were the title sponsors of Kenyan Premier League (KPL) giants Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, and Nakuru All-Stars.

The firm also had a partnership with the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) as they were sponsoring the Harambee Stars and also the FKF Shield Cup, whose winner represents the country in the Caf Champions League.

Their exit hit Kenyan football hard, as teams struggled to honour league matches, a move which saw Sony Sugar relegated to the lower league for missing three matches, while Chemelil Sugar and Nzoia Sugar had also missed two matches and were on the verge of being relegated before the league was prematurely ended owing to the Covid-19.

The teams also could not sustain their foreign players with both Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards the most affected, losing the players to other clubs and also saw Ingwe coach Casa Mbungo return to his native country Rwanda.

A top FKF official has welcomed the return of SportPesa insisting they will see how good they can work with them.

“It is good news for Kenyan football,” the source, who did not want to be named, told Goal. “At least they can also come in and sponsor us.”

Kakamega Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula welcomed their return and urged them to consider sponsoring his club.

“We are happy to have SportPesa back and I hope they can now come to the grassroots and sponsor my team,” Shimanyula told Goal. “I will try to engage them because if they sponsor my team, they will be very happy.”

The FKF has already secured a title sponsor – BetKing – for the 2020-21 FKF Premier League season set to kick off on November 20.





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