Everton agrees early end to SportPesa sponsorship
English Premier League football club Everton has announced that it is to end its partnership with online betting operator SportPesa two years before the deal had been due to expire.
SportPesa has served as the team’s main front-of-shirt sponsor since the start of the 2017-18 season, under a five-year agreement that had been set to run to the end of the 2021-22 campaign.
However, Everton has now announced that the partnership will conclude at the end of the current 2019-20 season in May.
Everton did not disclose the reasons behind the decision to end the partnership early, but it say it had been taken “following a comprehensive review by the club of its commercial strategy in line with its vision and future growth plans”.
“This has been a difficult decision but one that allows us to best deliver on our commercial plan and to grasp the new opportunities now open to us,” an official Everton spokesperson said.
“The club would like to thank SportPesa for all of the work that has been done together. Our partnership has seen our first team visit Africa on two occasions, as well as former players and club staff take part in numerous activations in the region.
“This has allowed us to grow our own footprint in Africa and further strengthen our special relationship with the continent.”
Everton added that it will appoint a new main partner ahead of the 2020/21 season.
The decision comes following a difficult 2019 for SportPesa, which in September of last year announced that it to was to halt operations in its native Kenya over a dispute related to a tax on betting stakes.
Shortly after this, SportPesa also announced it had made 453 Kenyan employees redundant after closing its operations in the country, calling for authorities in the country to repeal the new tax rate that caused it to withdraw from the market.
However, in November 2019, the Kenyan Tax Appeals Tribunal ruled in favour of betting operators that challenged whether the controversial gambling tax should be levied on player winnings, rather than their original stakes.
In its ruling, the court determined that the tax could only be applied to a player’s winnings at the end of every month, and that the KRA must collect revenue from customers, rather than directly from operators.
The decision could pave the way for local operators such as SportPesa to return to the market.