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Missing 2020 World U20 Championships will be costly

By Amos Abuga
Wednesday, March 18th, 2020
Team Kenya acknowledge cheers from fans during the walk past at the opening of the World Under18 Championships at the Kasarani Stadium.INSET: Mwangi Muthee. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Four months to the 2020 World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Mwangi Muthee the  2017 World U18 CEO has given a synopsis on what it will cost should the event not go on as scheduled.

Three years ago, Muthee and his Local Organising Committee (LOC) were faced with a challenge of convincing top nations that Kenya was a safe country for them to send athletes and compete at the Championships, while pleading with Germany and France worked, other nations such as USA, Great Britain, and Canada never honoured the event.

Despite the big withdrawals, the former Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) boss said the World Under-18 Championships were termed a great success, in an interview with People Sport, Muthee is hopeful the World under 20 event will go on as planned.

He has however shared his worry that the July 7-12 might actually fail to take place  due to the prolonged global COVID-19 pandemic.

While it is not fair to compare what the current LOC has spent ahead of the Championships, Muthee says the budget of about Sh2 billion which was allocated to be spent on the event, is Sh1 billion lower than his team was allocated during the 2017 U-18.

He said the current team must have invested a lot from that budget, claims that couldn’t be supported.

“Looking back I think this is a strange situation than we had. For us it was about trying to instill confidence that Kenya was safe for everyone. But now it’s a global problem.

The CoronaVirus outbreak is a serious threat, “ disclosed Muthee who revealed the  report from the 2017 event was beneficial to the Government, corporate personnel,  sports managers,  scholars and most importantly played a big part in the bidding for the Under 20 event.

Muthee says sporting events are being paralysed, adding that even the Tokyo Olympics is also at risk of cancellation with no end to the pandemic not near yet.

“Japan is the world’s third biggest economy, should the Games not take place I am sure the losses will be astronomical,” Muthee talked of the Games which organisers have estimated will cost Sh12.6 billion.

He says for Kenywa’s  case the role of the Government, corporate world and even well wishes cannot be underestimated and more so the effort that has been put into  the championship.

He gave an example of the recently postponed Kenya Open Golf which investors, partners and the government can only count the losses. 

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