September 22nd 2017

Sports / In-Depth

To grow football, Kenyans should wean our clubs from handouts

Gor Mahia who were 2015-2016 KPL winners received KSh3 million for their efforts. The amount doesn’t even remotely compare to the KSh13.5 billion (90 million pounds) Leicester City will be getting for topping the English Premier League table.

By Govan Okweroamondigovan@gmail.comFriday, 20 May 2016 13:28 EAT

George Odhiambo (left) of GorMahiafootball clubcontest for the ball against Moobhio Boris of Congo's AC Leopards football club during their match at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi

Gor Mahia who were 2015-2016 KPL winners received KSh3 million for their efforts. The amount doesn’t even remotely compare to the KSh13.5 billion (90 million pounds) Leicester City will be getting for topping the English Premier League table.

In addition, Leicester will earn lucrative Champions League appearance fees and sponsorship related add-ons. In local currency, the club’s revenues are indeed mind boggling.

Winners in European football leagues receive massive revenues that would put them among the top tier of large corporations in Africa’s big economies.

Apart from the award money and participation fees for teams in the European Leagues, the clubs rake in a great deal of match day revenues, which while lower in proportion of the total revenue is in fact most controllable, and television rights (EPL TV rights have broken the $5 billion ceiling).

Unlike what happens in this part of the world, the professional nature of the sport in Europe has allowed clubs to grow. Clubs such as Arsenal have developed state of the art stadia. Despite Highbury being one of the most famous stadia, Arsenal realized that if they were to compete with the elite clubs of Europe, they had to build a large stadium, the Emirates Stadium.

Upon witnessing Arsenal’s success, other teams such as Tottenham Hotspurs and Chelsea have also been seeking to re- develop their stadia. West Ham will be moving at the end of this season, from their current 35,000 capacity Upton Park to the 60,000 seater Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium. The clubs recognize that there’s a strong relationship between match day revenues and total revenues for clubs.

Will Kenyan clubs ever own their own stadia? With the incompetence witnessed in the running of the game it may be difficult to achieve.

The sad state of affairs that we witness in Africa and particularly Kenya can be linked to poor organization. This was illustrated quite clearly with the Nyayo Stadium $1.5 million dollar naming rights deal with Coca-Cola which was cancelled just a few months after it was reached. We couldn’t get it right with a national stadium, how do we expect to get it right with the clubs?

It will be difficult for our teams to compete Esperances and T.P Mazembes of this continent if we won’t be able to attract fans back to the stadium which will ensure match experience and in turn pull fans back to our stadia.

Addressing security in stadiums would encourage families to watch matches live, thus improving match day collections for clubs like Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, which habitually go so broke as to be bailed out by sympathetic politicians.

FIFA through CAF is trying to bring sanity in the game by introducing a club licensing system which African clubs must adhere to commit to by the end of this year.

The licensing system has five key areas:

Sporting criteria – clubs must have youth development programs;

Infrastructure criteria - clubs must have up to standard stadia;

Personnel and administrative criteria - clubs must have qualified coaches and medical staff;

Legal criteria - clubs must adhere to international statutes, clubs ownership must be transparent and fair;

Financial criteria - there should be independent auditing of clubs finances.

If we follow this to the letter maybe, just maybe we will be able to bring back order to our beautiful game.

The writer is a trained journalist and lover of football currently working for a management company in Nairobi





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