'Virus-hit sports needs government support'

What you need to know:

  • The sports industry has been hardly hit by the coronavirus with federations being forced to suspend competitions and leagues indefinitely
  • Kepsa Sports, Arts and Culture Board Chairman Herbert Mwachiro says it's important that the government steps in to weather the storm caused by the abrupt disruption of the sporting calendar
  • Mwachiro also urged corporates who are already supporting sports not to withdraw their sponsorship despite the harsh economic times occasioned by Covid-19

As the coronavirus crisis continues to bite, calls are growing for the Ministry of Sports to cushion sports stakeholders.

The sports industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus with federations being forced to suspend competitions and leagues indefinitely to conform to the government directive on social gatherings.

Players, coaches, match officials and administrators who solely depend on sports for a living have been forced to seek other means of survival as the government continues to battle the spread of the virus.

As of Sunday, Kenya had recorded 355 coronavirus cases, 106 recoveries and 14 deaths.

Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) Sports, Arts and Culture Board chairman Herbert Mwachiro said it was important that the government stepped in to mitigate against the abrupt disruption of the sporting calendar.

“We had global events lined up like the Olympics, World Under-20 Athletics Championships and Safari Rally so it's certainly a big blow to the sector especially with regards to the job opportunities and lost income. It's not only sports that has been affected but other sectors like tourism and hospitality which would have reaped big from the sporting events.

FUNDING MECHANISM

“As Kepsa we are engaging the government to establish a funding mechanism through the Sports Fund to give financial support to federations, clubs and sportspersons,” Mwachiro told Nation Sport.

Mwachiro also urged corporate organisations that are already supporting sports not to withdraw their sponsorship despite the harsh economic times occasioned by Covid-19.

“Corporates that have invested in sports through partnerships should be encouraged to suspend and not withdraw funds already allocated for 2020. These firms can be given increased tax rebates in 2021 in accordance with the Finance Act. We are also proposing tax reliefs for companies that have lost business as a result of cancellation of key sporting events,” said Mwachiro.

Kepsa is the private sector apex and umbrella body set up in 2003, to bring together business community in a single voice to engage and influence public policy for an enabling business environment.

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