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Safaricom Announces Return To Rugby Sevens Sponsorship

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Safaricom Announces Return To Rugby Sevens Sponsorship

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Source : kru.co.ke

Safaricom has today announced its decision to sponsor the 20th edition of the Safari Sevens tournament to be held at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani from 2nd to 4th October.

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 to resume talks with KRU under stringent conditions.

In August, KRU Chairman Richard Omwela assured sponsors that the KRU Board would improve governance, accountability and transparency within both the Union and the sport. Since then the Board has initiated measures aimed at cleaning house, including placing the Forensic Report by audit firm PKF before KRU’s Independent Disciplinary Committee.

“We have reviewed the steps taken by KRU to address the issues we raised when we withdrew our sponsorship in April, and are confident in the progress we are seeing,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Director – Consumer Business, Safaricom.

“The Board has assured us that pending the decision of the Independent Disciplinary Committee, those individuals adversely named in the Forensic Report will not be involved in the governance or financial decisions of the Union.”

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.

“Our sponsorship of this event in October does not mean we will relax our vigilance or enable continued inaction from KRU. We expect the same levels of transparency and accountability that we expect from all our partners,” said Ms. Mulinge. “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.”

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 admit that we should have been more vigilant in matters concerning the management of the sport, and we thank Safaricom for their willingness to support and invest in a sport that has the potential to perform just as well as athletics does on the world stage,” said Mr. Omwela.

“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.”

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.

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