English Premier League side Everton has dropped Kenyan betting firm SportPesa as its official main sponsor as it aims to appoint a new partner ahead the 2020/21 season.
In 2017, Everton signed a lucrative five year deal with SportPesa worth £7 million (Sh911 million) a year but has now decided to terminate the contract with two years left.
The club has said they will officially cut the partnership with SportPesa at the end of the current EPL season which concludes on Sunday May 17, 2020
In a statement on the club's website, Everton FC stated that it arrived at the decision following strategic review of operations.
"This has been a difficult decision but one that allows us to best deliver on our commercial plan and to grasp the new opportunities now open to us," the club statement reads in part.
Last month at the club's Annual General Meeting, Everton's Chief Executive Officer Denise Barrett-Baxendale, while responding to a question, stated that they would prefer a different type of sponsor than a gambling company.
"I think you raise a good point. In an ideal world moving forward we would look to have a different type of sponsor on the front of our shirts like all football clubs would, but that is a commercial decision that we make as a football club," Baxendale was quoted by The Telegraph.
Everton's desire to increase their activities and revenues with sponsors together with restrictions which apply when a sponsor is a gambling firm are understood to have been factors in the club decision to terminate SportPesa sponsorship early.
While the partnership lasted, it enabled the Merseyside club to play Kenyan clubs Gor Mahia and Kariobangi Sharks in Liverpool and Nairobi respectively following the two Kenyan clubs emerging the winners of Sportpesa Cup.
In October last year, SportPesa closed down shop in Kenya in response to a new 20% tax imposed on betting stakes by the government. The move saw over 400 locals lose jobs.