Press Briefing By Hon. Hassan Noor Hassan Ebs, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry Of Sports, Culture And Heritage On The Sports Stimulus Package To Cushion Sportspersons Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to give a statement on the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage on the Sports Stimulus Package to Cushion Sportspersons amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic.
As you may be aware, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a health pandemic in January 2020, and as a result, the Sports sector has been thrown into disarray due to the continued spread of the coronavirus globally, Kenya included.
The first case of infection in Kenya was reported on 13th March 2020 and since then numbers have continued to rise to occasion far-reaching socio-economic consequences. The disease has now spread in more than 35 of our 47 Counties in Kenya.
The Kenyan sports persons have not been spared of the effects of this disease. Our athletes are the most affected as they stand to lose close to Kshs 5 billion this season. This is in appearance fees, prize money, endorsements and other outside contracts with sportswear firms.
The athletes will not race in well-heeled marathons and races. This includes the lucrative 14 leg Diamond league series, World Athletics Continental tour, the Olympic Games, World Rugby Series and several marathons, all of which have been cancelled or postponed.
Players participating in our local leagues continue to suffer loss of income from training and match allowances as a result of the suspended competitions. This is where they earn their livelihood to sustain their families.
Likewise, the technical officials like coaches and who earn from Sports have also been adversely affected by the stoppage of Sporting activities in the country, and globally.
The above-mentioned groups require cushioning in order to enable them remain physiologically and psychologically fit for training to go through this difficult time.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The coronavirus pandemic is not a short term social disruption and it might take months before normalcy resumes. It remains a big blow to the sportspersons, especially those who are unemployed, self-employed, retired or those living with disabilities.
In view of this situation, H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta gave a directive to the Ministry of Sports Culture and Heritage to come up with ways to cushion the most vulnerable Sportspersons. In this regard, the Ministry came up with a stimulus package for National Team Sportspersons who have been active in the 2019/ 2020 Financial Year. The KPL and Women Premier League Teams were also incorporated in this package.
The Ministry has, therefore, in the past few weeks engaged with all registered sports federations to identify the most-in-need National Teams sportspersons. They are the ones not in any formal employment and solely depend on Sports for their livelihood. The package offers support to vulnerable sportspersons from our various Sports Federations in the Country by cushioning them with a monthly stipend of Ksh.10.000(ten thousand shillings) for three months w.e.f 30th May 2020.
The Ministry called out its strategic partners to support this process, and we are glad to report that several well-wishers have come on board. We have so far received Ksh. 15,000,000 (fifteen million) from Betika and another Ksh. 5,000,000 (five million) from other Sports Betting firms. Other sponsors have also donated food packages directly to our athletes through this program. Over 300 athletes have received the food packages.
Further, the Sports Arts and Social Development Fund approved Ksh. 54 Million to be used for this exercise.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are glad to report that the first tranche of the cash transfer has been effected. A total of Ksh 21,990,000 has been paid out to 2,199 athletes and technical officials from 83 Sports. In addition, approximately 250 athletes are in the process of being paid.
These amounts were paid directly to the athletes through their mobile telephone numbers, or through guardians introduced by respective federations for those who do not have valid National ID Cards.
The breakdown of the respective sports organizations and the number of athletes who have benefited will be given out after this press statement.
We hope that this cushioning will enable the athletes to continue training at home without undue pressure in preparation of resumption of Sports activities and competitions once we reopen.
International Sports organizations are already developing protocols and planning for resumption of their Sporting Calendars, and thus the importance of our athletes to keep in shape.
Moving forward, the Ministry intends to continue assessing the effects of Covid-19 on the Sporting scene, and on our Sportspersons and planning for more cushioning options to mitigate the effects.
We have Learnt some lessons from the Pandemic situation for example on possibilities of future Funding of our local athletes to enable them to earn income from funded leagues and competitions.
Establish and maintain a database on Sports persons and Sports Organizations.
Meanwhile, we are engaging Stakeholders to review and develop protocols on the resumption of training and competitions. The Cabinet Secretary will be setting a committee drawn from our stakeholders for this activity in the coming days.
Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, I take this opportunity to thank His Excellency the President for directing the Ministry to carry out this exercise,
I also wish to thank all the Ministry’s partners who have come through to support this program. We continue to call upon other partners to come on board.
We also recognize and appreciate other initiatives that are being undertaken by other well-wishers for our sportspersons.