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Sport, politics and investor confidence

Copyrights: Gabriel Tabona

Sport, politics and investor confidence

Part three of Gabriel Tabona’s article series outlines sustainability and moral issues surrounding sponsorships.

Governance experts are beginning to embrace the fact that it’s no longer easy to identify a communist or capitalist country due to the fact that there are different market structures which facilitate a business’ entry into a certain territory. Monopolistic or oligopolistic -focussed nations are key factors which multinationals use to penetrate a given market. Big companies are increasingly recruiting political strategists based on the realisation that they are important personnel in lobbying for laws which provide a better operating environment.

With political goodwill, the concept of devolution has seen the county government of Mombasa upgrade old facilities- Bomu stadium and Uwanja wa Mbuzi- to international standards, thus providing employment and recreational support to people at risk.

Moral regulations cannot be compromised in sports investments. Zanzibar League prohibits alcoholic drinks manufacturers from sponsoring any football activities. Kenyan topflight league along with other sports organisations saw their sponsorship withdrawn by Sportpesa after the assent to the law imposing a 35% profit tax on betting firms, with the parliament citing increased moral decay and suicide by people losing their bets. It’s only recently that FIFA lifted its ban on hijabs thanks to intense lobbying by Muslim leaders insisting that Islamic law requires women to wear the headgear at all times.

Sustainability and accountability of sports activities, especially in developing countries, has been a challenge-sparking debate in Kenya on whether companies should sponsor community clubs or have their own entities despite high political undertones characterised by such clubs. Yet, the viability of the National Sports Lottery Fund under the Sports Act continues to be uncertain. The recent controversial cancellation of the sponsorship of Brand Kenya Board to the Kenya sevens team was attributed to players protesting non-payment by Kenya Rugby Union.

Favourable laws can provide an enabling environment for firms to pursue international and local sports cooperation giving rise to sports tourism as an anchor on investment. Sportpesa’s partnership with La liga and English Premier League clubs has seen exchange programmes and international friendly matches promote sports tourism while Wadi Degla clubs continue to see multi-sports infrastructure across Africa. In 2017, Safaricom Limited teamed up with Football Kenya Federation to hold the Chapa Dimba talent search championships,  wanting to be seen as having good intentions in promoting sports.

This means that investment in sports is influenced by political factors which cannot be ignored thus necessitating close interactions whose end game is to keep profits rolling for firms supporting sports

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Friday, August 3, 2018 - 10:01

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