Kenya Sevens in World Cup disarray

Mens - Paris
by AFP

Kenya's preparations for next month's Rugby World Cup Sevens have been thrown into disarray by the government withdrawing its 20 million shilling ($189,000) sponsorship of the team on Thursday.

The decision was retaliation for a public protest against unpaid salaries last week during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris, when national team players hid the 'Brand Kenya' logo on their shirts.

The sponsorship withdrawal has thrown the cash-strapped Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) into disarray with head coach, Innocent Simiyu being sacked and top officials going into a crisis meeting Friday to seek a new sponsor ahead of next month's World Cup.

Simiyu said it has been "a great honour" to coach Kenya's sevens team.

The Rugby World Cup Sevens -- involving 24 men's and 16 women's teams -- will take place in San Francisco, USA, on July 20-22.

Kenya has twice reached the semi-finals of the tournament in 2009 and 2013 in Dubai and Moscow respectively.

The Rugby World Cup Sevens kicks off on July 20 in San Francisco.