•He asked the government to consider embracing alternative ways of addressing the challenges arising from betting if that was their main aim.
•Most of the betting companies sponsoring our leagues have already warned me they might have to leave if the law is finally implemented.
Betting firms sponsoring football in the country have threatened to pull out if the government makes good its plan to impose the 20 percent excise duty on betting, Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa has warned.
The FKF honcho made the chilling remarks during a Covid-19 inoculation exercise held at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani gymnasium on Friday where local top-flight footballers received their second Covid-19 jabs.
“If you carefully examine the current situation in our country, all the first three football tiers are sponsored by betting firms.
“If they are subjected to more taxes and they decide to withdraw their support, who else will we run to?" posed Mwendwa.
Mwendwa expressed fear local clubs might be exposed to dire financial constraints given they largely rely on the funds pumped in by the firms to meet their recurrent expenditures.
“Most of the betting companies sponsoring our leagues have already warned me they might have to leave if the law is finally implemented.
"As we speak, we have been disbursing Sh883,000 to each of the top-flight clubs every other month.
“If the betting firms opt-out, we may end up giving the clubs a paltry Sh100,000 per month. Surely, how will they survive on such an amount?” he asked.
“We are likely to retrogress to a point where we shall have to start pleading with the government again to consider supporting our national teams financially, and that doesn't sound good for the future of our football,” lamented Mwendwa.
He asked the government to consider embracing alternative ways of addressing the challenges arising from betting if that was their main aim.
“It would be much better if the government came up with a policy to coerce the firms into sponsoring our local teams as opposed to subjecting them to further tax burdens.
“I urge the government to consider coming up with other innovative ways of sensitizing the public on the detrimental effects of betting,” concluded Mwendwa.
While unveiling the 2021/2022 budget at Parliament buildings on Thursday, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani said the decision to reintroduce the tax measure was in response to the grave concerns Kenyans continue to express about the detrimental effects of betting on the general public.
“Excise duty on betting shall be twenty percent of the amount wagered or staked,” said Yatani.
"Betting has become widespread, resulting in negative social effects. I propose to reintroduce excise duty on betting at the rate of 20% of the amount wagered," Yatani announced.