Zoo, Mathare seek amends for FKF-PL expulsion

Zoo Kericho has taken Football Kenya Federation and StarTimes TV to the Competition Authority of Kenya after they were expelled from the top flight league alongside Mathare United.

In a letter dated 12th December Zoo, through Omollo and Omollo advocates, stated that the federation and the broadcast partner breached the prohibitions of the competition Act in relation to the media rights and commercial rights agreement dated.

On Sunday the federation made its threats true by expelling the two teams after they failed to sign the broadcast deal by the 48-hour deadline set during a national executive meeting that was held on Wednesday.

Zoo is now requesting the authority to give an interim order to FKF to prohibit them from suspending Zoo on account of its failure to endorse the broadcast agreement.

They are also requesting for an order to prohibit StarTimes from broadcasting the club’s matches

Meanwhile, Mathare Chief Executive Officer Jacktone Obure has promised a solution to the impasse between the club and FKF will be solved by the end of the week.

Two suggestions came from his statements; either an amicable solution be reached between the two and the federation or take a step that humbles the latter to retreat from the current stance.

“Just wait, just wait and see. In the next few hours, or the next few day,” answered Obure, when he was asked what step they are taking as his players brave the cold amid the uncertainty.

He continued, “… that’s why I’m saying just wait. We are in this country and we are all football fans, then ask me that question on Friday.”

Obure however regretted the move to suspend his side after a 48-hour deadline served last week, terming it unfair and totally out of order.

“Only two clubs have been suspended because they have not signed the endorsement letter, but where I seat its four clubs. Of course for Gor Mahia it is debatable although the chairman and the rest of the executives collectively disowned their Secretary General’s signature. Ulinzi Stars have not also, and they have done let us be shown the letter. Why then are we being treated differently, is it because our patron is not a politician or because I’m not a government institution?”

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is Gor’s patron, while according to Obure, President Uhuru Kenyatta is the patron for Ulinzi, being a Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) team.

According to the CEO, the federation’s claim to own the broadcast rights that have been the bone of contention is contradicted by the fact that the endorsement has been “desperately sought.”

“This is a scheme to force us into an idea that is unfounded. They (FKF) should have simply scheduled live matches for us and award walkovers if we fail to show up, if they indeed owned the rights. But forcing us to sign, and suspending to complete the deal with StarTimes without us exposes them. They can’t sell the rights unless we append our signature, because the ownership is by the federation and its members,” he elucidated.

In the same vein, Obure laughed off the decision by FKF to give the suspended clubs’ players a two-week window to move to look for new employers.

“It is basic knowledge there are specific windows for transfers. Someone purporting to create a special window just to force his idea of manipulating some clubs is totally out of order. Furthermore, the players have binding contracts with us, so they can’t just exit,” he told, revealing his players have been thrown into a “disturbing” anxiety.

Obure has called on FKF president Nick Mwendwa to “lead by example” and avoid unnecessary strife.

“It is wise for someone to lower his pride, sit with people and listen to them. We have a perfect example of what President Kenyatta did with the opposition after the disputed 2017 elections. In fact, we were not given a chance to say what our problem with the contract was. He (Mwendwa) should have listened to us before the National Executive Council and see if there would have been some understanding instead of rushing to suspend,” he opined.

Already, three rounds of the FKFPL have been played and the two sides removed from the season schedule, meaning it would take yet another U-turn by the federation to have them back in the 2020/21 season.

-Report by John Kyanda and Jacob Icia 

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