Photo: From left to right (Sylvia Mulinge –Safaricom GM Consumer Business, Ronald Bukusi – KRU CEO, Richard Omwela – KRU Chairman)
Money giants Safaricom, today bounced back to sponsor this year’s Safari sevens tournament that will be hosted between 2nd to 4th October at the Safaricom stadium Kasarani.
Safaricom entered into partnership with Kenya Rugby Union in 2010 and their vision was to help grow the rugby game from grassroots level to national level however their efforts were out shadowed by corruption and fraud allegations within the Kenya Rugby Union.
“Early this year, we felt the need to raise our concerns surrounding the management of the sport, a decision that led to Safaricom withdrawing its sponsorship of rugby through Kenya Rugby Union,” said General Manager – Consumer Business, Sylvia Mulinge.
“Our decision in no way meant that our belief in the potential of the sport had waned, rather it was a tough call we had to make as title sponsor and one we felt was for the sake of the sport, ” Sylvia further explained.
After the reassurance from the Kenya Rugby Union board that it initiated measures aimed at cleaning the house which involved placing a forensic report by audit firm PKF before the independent disciplinary committee of KRU, Safaricom felt it was ready to return to rugby sponsorship.
“We have agreed to sponsor the 19th edition of the Safari sevens tournament. I am glad to announce that Safaricom has allocated Ksh 30 million towards the sponsorship of the event, which will take place between 2nd and 4th October, at the Safaricom stadium in Kasarani,” Sylvia Mulinge said.
Safaricom will sponsor next year’s event if Kenya Rugby Union will keep its board “clean” in terms of governance, accountability and transparency.
“This does not mean that we will be less vigilant in our demands for proper governance. We will continue to push the Board to address the issues of concern until we can feel and see the impact, which will be clear to all once our national team begin to once again perform well,” Ms Mulinge concluded.
Teams from England,Italy, Portugal, Spain, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Wales, Samurai,Canada, Australia, Uganda and Western Province are expected to participate in this year’s Safari 7s tournament.