Safaricom will be sponsoring the 19th edition of the Sevens tournament to be held at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani from 2nd to 4th October according to a new announcement the telecommunications company made earlier today. The announcement comes five months after Safaricom withdrew its sponsorship of rugby following allegations of corruption and fraud within Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), and barely a month after the company – alongside fellow sponsors Kenya Airways and Bamburi – agreed.
In a bid to have the chief sponsor back on board, KRU Chairman Richard Omwela assured the company of improvement in governance, accountability and transparency within both the Union and the sport during the negotiation period in August. To reinforce the promise, the Board has initiated measures aimed at cleaning house, including placing the Forensic Report by audit firm PKF before KRU’s Independent Disciplinary Committee which Safaricom termed as impressive.
The sponsorship however does not extend to 2016 edition of the National Sevens Circuit or Safari Sevens Tournament, with Safaricom adopting a cautious approach towards full sponsorship of the circuit until it is fully satisfied with KRU’s remedial measures.
“We are willing to support rugby in Kenya because we see its potential and the commitment of the players and fans, but we will not do this at the expense of proper governance.” Said Sylvia Mulinge, Director – Consumer Business, Safaricom.
Changes by KRU Board
Some of the changes effected over the last few months by the Omwela–led KRU board include new HR procedures, financial processes and guidelines to engage and remunerate managers, coaches and players.
In addition, the introduction of a new C.E.O and C.F.O has led to separation of the board to provide strategic direction, with the operational arm of the Union now being led by a Secretariat.“We are committed to cleaning up rugby from the inside out and have even applied to World Rugby to seek their endorsement so as to give the Safari Sevens Series greater global presence.” Said Mr. Omwela
While Safaricom will not be the title sponsor for the event the company remains optimistic about a full turnaround in the management of the sport, which will this year mark 19 years since the Safari Sevens Series was launched in 1996.