Mathare petitions IDCC as KPL betting wars escalate

Mathare petitions IDCC as KPL betting wars escalate

The battle for supremacy between sports betting firms involved in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) is threatening to turn nasty with 2008 winners Mathare United FC set to file an official complaint to the Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee.

This is after the club was denied the right to display the billboards of another betting firm that rivals the title sponsors of the top-flight division during their last two home matches, the latest on Sunday when they lost 1-2 to Gor Mahia at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani.

“The MUFC case cites the Kenyan Premier League Ltd (KPL) as the 1st Respondent and, as the 2nd Respondent, Pevans East Africa Ltd, the owner of the (said betting firm) and the KPL Title Rights Sponsor,” a statement from the club declared.

“As the Chairman of a founding KPL club and a KPL Director, I am naturally disappointed and saddened by recent events and actions by KPL staff which do not serve and protect the rights and best interests of the KPL clubs, and especially the arbitrary and unjustified refusal by KPL staff to allow our club to display the billboards of our new partner (another betting firm) during our last two home matches,” Mathare chairman, Bob Munro underscored.

Munro claims the deal between KPL and their title sponsor on July 17, 2015 “was not signed with the prior informed consent and approval of the KPL Governing Council and was also not signed by the KPL Chairman or any other KPL Director on behalf of the KPL clubs.

“Moreover, the Agreement even specifically states that the exclusivity of (said betting firm) as the KPL Title Rights Sponsor does not extend to the team sponsorship of individual teams.

“In addition, the Agreement appears not to be in conformity with, for example, key provisions in the Constitution of Kenya on protection of property and key parts of the Competition Act of Kenya on Restrictive Agreements, Practices and Decision and the Abuse of Dominant Position,” the statement added.

“Our club decided to submit a complaint to the IDCC because the KPL-Betting Firm Agreement not only infringes on our rights and unfairly jeopardizes the future of our club but also the rights and future of the 13 other KPL clubs which are not sponsored by them,” the Mathare chairman explained.

“Moreover, it also jeopardizes the future sporting integrity, competitiveness and viability of the KPL itself and also undermines the fundamental rights of other betting companies in Kenya to compete in an open, free and fair market.”

Following the defeat, Mathare dropped to sixth on 42 points whilst Gor kept extended their title chase until at least this weekend after trailing leaders Tusker FC (55) by four with two games to go.

The lucrative sport betting has attracted a number of firms to set up shop in the country with cut throat competition shaping up.