KPL to convene meeting over match-fixing menace

The Kenya Premier League (KPL) will convene an executive meeting with all stakeholders before the end of the week in a bid to establish the root cause of match-fixing scandal that has rocked the Kenyan game in the last two weeks.

The KPL Chairman Ambrose Rachier said the allegations have caught them by surprise but they are acting swiftly in a bid to determine the extent of the vice and try to curb it.

“We want to approve the appointment of an investigator to be able to come to the bottom of these allegations.

“Betting companies are sponsoring a number of teams in the whole world, so we will look for the best possible benchmarks that we have in other places and put those rules in place in our own country prevent this mischief from taking place in our own league,” Rachier said.

At the same time, KPL CEO Jack Oguda said that Kakamega Homeboyz, who last week fired their head coach Paul Nkata over match fixing allegations, are yet to share their evidence with league management body.

Nkata was fired last week alongside his assistant Hamza Kalanzi with  the club chairman Cleophas Shimanyula alleging that the former Muhoroni, Bandari and Tusker FC tactician match fixed Homeboyz two matches against Mathare United  and against Sony Sugar

“We have written to  the club chairman asking him to present   us with the witness statement showing that there was match fixing so that we can take the matter to the Independent Disciplinary Committee.

“Until now they say they are protecting the players but without evidence there is no way we can they proceed  because as it is they are allegations so let them also move with speed,” Oguda said.

‘International Match-Fixer’

The allegations against Nkata and Homeboyz were followed by a damning report by world governing body FIFA which implicated former Harambee Stars player George Owino in an international match-fixing scandal.

The 10-page preliminary report dated September 2018 accuses Owino of masterminding match manipulation with one “high-profile international match-fixer Mr. Wilson Raj Perumal,” between 2009 and 2011.

The series has led Kenyans into demanding action from authorities to clean up the mess and restore integrity to the local sport. But what does the Kenyan law say regarding the vice?

According to Sarah Ochwada, a sports lawyer, there are no criminal sanctions for match-fixing because the offence does not ‘harm’ the public directly hence difficult for culprits to be jailed.

“Unlike some of other countries where match-fixing and sports fraud are deemed criminal offences in Kenya we don’t have these laws where someone can be convicted ,however  this can go all around and one can be jailed for corruption in sports or something of the sort,” Ochwada said.

Ochwada however says in the wake of the match-fixing allegations which have marred the sport in Kenya, it is the right time the vice through parliament deemed a criminal offence opining this would act as a strong deterrent.

“I think Kenya and other countries which do not convict culprits found guilty are targeted because match fixing is a syndicated problem which have networks around the world so we should come up with strict measures to check the vice,” she added.

According to world governing football body FIFA code of ethics, manipulation of football matches or competition result in being sanctioned with an appropriate fine of at least Ksh.10milion as well as a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for a minimum of five years.

-Report by John Kyanda and Stanley Mativo