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Kenya's biggest football clubs criticise 20% excise tax on betting firms

Football clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards decry the reintroduction of 20% excise tax in the 2021/2022 budget for betting companies

Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, Kenya's most prominent  football clubs, have criticised the reintroduction of 20% excise tax in the 2021/22 budget. They contend that it will harm betting companies supporting local teams and result in eradicating their sponsorship. 

On Thursday during his speech at parliament, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani called for the reintegration of the tax which was original vetoed by  President Uhuru Kenyatta back in July 2020. 

"Excise duty on betting at 20% of the amount will be wagered," said Yattani.

In a joint statement, Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier and his AFC Leopards counterpart Dan Shikanda, argue that the tax will push out current league sponsors including BetKing and others who proved their unwavering support. 

Furthermore, the duo state that excise tax was one of the reasons SportPesa departed from the Kenyan market in 2018. They add that betting firms have contributed a total of Sh1.6 billion from 2016 to 2020 in support for football and are worried the tax could drive them away.

The statement reaffirms their stance to scrap the tax in bid to support football clubs during the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, reading:

The enactment of the 20% excise tax will unequivocally rule out continued sponsorship of football clubs across all tiers (National Super League, Division 1 and County Leagues), with the net effect of rendering the operations of most of the league teams unsustainable," 

The tax proposal is ill-timed and makes a strong appeal to the government and members of parliament to make special considerations on this exigent matter and give the sports fraternity a fighting chance during these difficult times,

Source: AllAfrica

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