FKF now suspends KPL, to charge four league officials
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has suspended the 2017 Kenyan Premier League that was scheduled to start this weekend as the tussle over the control of the domestic top flight competition reached a head on Tuesday afternoon.
Addressing the press at the federation headquarters in Nairobi, FKF President Nick Mwendwa also announced they would institute proceedings against four top chairmen they accuse of escalating the standoff between them and the league management company.
KPL chairman, James Musyoki, his predecessor Ambrose Rachier, CEO Jack Oguda and founder Bob Munro face action after Mwendwa accused them of scuttling the agreement to expand the league to 18 teams.
“We’re charging the four because they were part of the sitting that concluded on an 18-team league but led the rest the opposite direction,” Mwendwa charged.
“People agreed to an 18-league team. These guys just don’t care. No respect for the federation or FIFA,” the President added.
Mwendwa said the decision to freeze the league and charge the four officials had been reached by the National Executive Committee as he insisted Muhoroni Youth FC and Sofapaka FC would not be a part of the top flight this year despite the KPL Governing Council moving to include them in their fixtures programme.
The FKF boss said they would attend a final Joint Executive Committee (JEC) meeting on Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to end the crippling impasse over the competition.
“We have requested the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) to moderate the JEC for the last time,” the FKF chief declared.
In releasing their fixtures on Monday, KPL maintained 16 teams would play in the 2017 league attaching a ruling by the SDT they claimed supported their mandate to run the top division.
“The Tribunal upheld the agreement between the federation and KPL but these guys went against that. The KPL earns just about Ksh243m a year and I can state that because I’m elected.
“Each federation has ways of punishing those who fail to comply to Club Licensing rules. Some will relegate or deduct points. Further to what NEC has passed today is that if a club is not licensed then they shall not play in an FKF affiliated league,” Mwendwa charged.
This was in reference to Muhoroni and Sofapaka who were axed from the league after the FKF Appeals Board threw out their appeal against their relegation for failing to meet the FIFA/CAF Licensing threshold.
“There are consequences when you go against regulations. Those two clubs – Muhoroni and Sofapaka – have serious issues and everyone is aware. They will not be in the league.
“We’re not saying football in the country doesn’t have its issues but compared to the state we found it’s day and night,” the FKF President stressed whilst defending his record since being elected last February.
Mwendwa threw a jibe at the KPL claiming the league management company had fielded a candidate, Rachier, whom he trounced in the race for the top seat in the Football Elections of February 10, 2016 when apportioning the blame for the current standoff on their rivals.
“We have been very patient. KPL took us to the Tribunal, we obliged. Went to the tribunal and for the past 4 months I’ve personally gone surrendered myself to the process and admitted that whatever will be passed shall be so.
“A bunch of KPL chairmen have been doing this for 14 years and know no other way of doing this. I’m accountable and answerable to Kenyan football fans and that’s why we’re transparent in how much we get from FIFA,” the FKF President charged.
“These bunch of KPL men have found out there now is a substantive federation in place,” Mwendwa chided.
The tough-talking and grandstanding between the two bodies will only escalate the uncertainty over the two top divisions of Kenyan football.
It echoes the FKF-KPL clash of 2014/15 where the then federation president Sam Nyamweya obtained a two-week court injunction against the latter before mediation efforts spearheaded by the Government and FIFA saw the 16-team league format retained for the season.
The parties were urged to agree to modalities on expanding the league in subsequent season but while agreement over the 18-team competition has been reached in principal, KPL now insist the extra teams should foot the bill for the added fixtures.
As the matter see-saws between the protagonists heading both institutions, recent strides made in the development of local football are in danger of stalling with innocent players bearing the blunt.