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Mixed reactions from sports federation heads on BBI proposals

By Lynette Matheka
Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
Nick Mwendwa

Sports stakeholders have thrown their weight behind the proposal by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report that has called for promotion of sports and arts as a way of empowering the youth.

While the move is welcome for some, the proposal for a government-run national lottery to replace privately-owned betting firms has been met with reservations from some quarters.

“The private betting industry is leading to hopelessness and greater poverty. The taskforce recommends that the private betting industry be replaced with a Government-run national lottery whose proceeds, as is the case in other countries, are used for activities that uplift the youth, sports, culture and other social activities beneficial to citizens,” reads part of the report.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa says the government is better of regulating the private betting industry instead of replacing it.

“I am not sure the government can be creative enough to drive the betting industry. It would be better off left to private investors then the government regulates how proceeds from betting trickle down to sports. I do not know the details of the proposals but this has the risk of killing individual club sponsorship,” said Mwendwa, whose Kariobangi Sharks signed a sponsorship deal with betting firm Betway last week.

Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) boss Waithaka Kioni has welcomed the move albeit on the condition that prior arrangements are made to cover all teams, both national and individual clubs that have any active partnerships with existing betting firms.

“In their quest to promote sports, the government should also ensure all sporting disciplines have adequate infrastructure, create academies at the county level and ensure the national teams for all the disciplines are well funded,” said Kioni.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) vice-chairman Thomas Opiyo dismissed the proposals, saying they are only good on paper but impossible to implement.

“The government is very inefficient. One can never know how much is coming into such a fund and how much is disbursed,” said Opiyo.

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