HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series: Why Shujaa players will conceal sponsor name on their jerseys in Madrid

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series: Why Shujaa players will conceal sponsor name on their jerseys in Madrid

Joel Omotto 14:30 - 30.05.2024

Kenya Sevens are in Madrid for the promotion-relegation playoff this weekend, but they will not give their sponsors the much-needed visibility due to a surprising reason.

Kenya Sevens players will not offer their main sponsor SportPesa the visibility that they will need during the season finale in Madrid, Spain this weekend.

Shujaa are in the Spanish capital for a key moment that will determine whether they make an immediate return to the World Sevens Series following their relegation last season.

Kenya have Samoa, hosts Spain and Chile in their group in the promotion-relegation playoff where the top four will earn an entry into the World Series while the rest fall into the second tier Challenger Series.

It means rugby enthusiasts will be glued to their screens for the decisive matches but they will not be able to see Kenya Sevens’ main sponsors SportPesa on the players’ jerseys due to laws pertaining gambling in the European country.

“Spanish laws prohibit shirt sponsorships by betting firms. Consequently, our jerseys will have our shirt sponsor's name taped out during the HSBCSVNS in Madrid in respect of these laws,” Shujaa confirmed the development via a social media post.

Shujaa captain Vincent Onyala gave Kenyans a glimpse of how they will look like during the captain’s shoot when he showed up alongside the other skippers with Kenya Sevens sponsor’s name covered with tape.

In 2021, Spain also banned the use of celebrities in gambling advertising, as well as sport sponsorships.

A new law was then passed in October 2022 to further restrict ads by restricting certain communications in advertising. This included references to social status, physical health, economic stability or mental health.

It will not be the first time Shujaa will be covering the name of their sponsors during their tour as they did the same during the Paris Sevens in 2018, but for a different reason.

Then sponsored by Brand Kenya on the front and Bidco at the back, the players covered the front with tape, in protest over unpaid dues in two of their three group matches, sparking outrage from the government and Kenya Rugby Union officials.

While their sponsors will not get value for their money this weekend, Kevin Wambua’s charges will hope to come out with a return ticket to the World Series, having seen their 19-year top flight stay come to a crashing end last May.

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