English Premier League side Everton has dropped Kenyan betting firm SportPesa as its official main sponsor as it aims to appoint a new partner ahead the 2020/21 season. "We would like to thank the team and F1 for a great season working together and we would look forward to opportunities of working joints on local activations", the statement read in part.
Everton, who had signed a 5-12 months offer with the gaming brand name in 2017, explained the selection was produced just after a assessment of the club's professional approach in line with its long term advancement programs.
Everton insist the decision has not primarily been influenced by the clamour for football to distance itself from betting but it was taken into account.
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"This has been a hard decision but one that allows us to best deliver on our commercial plan and to grasp the new opportunities now open to us", the club statement reads in part. The club has also revealed that the company has agreed to the termination of the contract. "This has allowed us to grow our own footprint in Africa and further strengthen our special relationship with the continent". Heralded at the signing as a record deal for Everton, it was reckoned to have been worth £7 million a year.
While the partnership lasted, it enabled the Merseyside club to play Kenyan clubs Gor Mahia and Kariobangi Sharks in Liverpool and Nairobi respectively following the two Kenyan clubs emerging the winners of Sportpesa Cup.
Kenya was a big beneficiary of the Everton, SportPesa partnership that saw Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia play at Goodison Park in 2018 before Everton visited Kenya to play Kariobangi Sharks in the historic match past year.
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In March 2019 the FAI announced its deal with SportPesa stating that the gambling firm would partner with it on a programme of corporate social responsibility.
"Kenyans love bringing down their own, and now the same Bet 365 is probably the most popular betting site in Kenya, more revenue for them and more tax revenue for the United Kingdom", said Sportpesa CEO.
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