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FAI ends SportPesa contract after rescue deal

Matt Doherty of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark (by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The Football Association of Ireland has ended a sponsorship deal with Kenyan bookmaker SportPesa as part of a government-backed rescue agreement for the embattled governing body.

SportPesa further enhanced its football sponsorship portfolio by agreeing a two-year deal with the FAI back in March 2019. However, the FAI has since been mired in significant financial troubles, with its debt levels said to have reached €62m ($68.6m).

The €30m rescue deal for the FAI was signed last week between the government, European governing body Uefa and the Bank of Ireland, the latter of which said it had also agreed in principle a sponsorship agreement with the FAI, details of which will be announced over the coming weeks.

Under the rescue package, the government will double its funding from €2.9m per year to €5.8m until 2023 and give the FAI an interest free loan of €2.5m annually for the next three years.

The Irish Sun newspaper said that following the agreement of the rescue package, the FAI and SportPesa have reached a mutual agreement to end their partnership. In a joint statement announcing the end of the sponsorship deal, the FAI and SportPesa said the decision came from “a re-evaluation of sponsorship focus at the FAI prompted discussions between the two parties which has led to the expiry of this deal.”

A spokesman for SportPesa added: “We respect that the FAI has decided to shift its priorities and re-evaluate its partnerships portfolio. As an organisation that takes responsible gambling incredibly seriously, we understand the new approach taken by the FAI towards its partnerships with those in the gaming sector.”