NAIROBI, Kenya, April 19- Gor Mahia have been ordered to play their next three home Kenyan Premier League (KPL) matches in empty stadia following the fracas that marred their March 18 derby against archrivals AFC Leopards.
The sanctions could stretch to five games if the club does not avail a strategic plan on security arrangements for their home fixtures to the Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee (IDCC) in 15 days.
Reacting to the verdict, Gor secretary, George Bwana told Capital Sport on Thursday that the decision,”It is a very harsh punishment and it will kill us as a community club since we rely on collections from the gate to survive. We shall appeal to KPL and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) for the it to be reversed.”
According to the ruling by the body, the punishment stems from the club being found culpable of failing to control their supporters thereby forcing the stoppage of the match, damage to property belonging to SuperSport and Sports Stadia Management Board as well as injury to Leopards supporters.
Further, K’Ogalo, who face Ulinzi Stars in Nakuru on Saturday have been directed to set up an ‘Implementation Committee’ that shall include representation from Football Kenya Federation that shall submit bi-weekly reports to IDCC on the steps the security strategic plan will be conducted.
Subsequently, the Green Army will be banned from attending their club’s matches against Nairobi City Stars (April 28) and Chemelil Sugar (May 6) at the City Stadium in addition to the tie against Western Stima at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on May 19.
At the same time, IDCC declined the request to award the points of the derby to Leopards ruling, “The decisions made by the referee or assistant referees on the Laws of the Game during a match are final. Clubs and players may submit a protest but cannot appeal those decisions.”
Further measures taken against K’Ogalo include meeting the costs of convening the IDCC for purposes of evaluating the extent to which it will implement the security strategic plan.
Delivering the verdict, the disciplinary committee expressed their satisfaction that Gor had made security arrangements for the match in question but were of the view that the security arrangements agreed upon were not implemented adequately.
“We take the view that in order to fulfill its obligations under Rule 3.5(b) of Kenyan Football, the home team must not only make adequate pre-match security arrangements but also implement them to the letter.
“For example, this duty includes liaising with the relevant Police Department to ensure that the numbers of police officers required are actually deployed, and on time.”
The IDCC said Gor failed to demonstrate that the 300 police officers requested were deployed as a matter of fact besides meeting the requirement that the home team deploy its stewards throughout the stadium to facilitate the identification of troublemakers.
The committee sat under their chairman Richard Omwela, with vice-chairman, Prof. Migai Akech as well as members, Elijah Gitonga, William Odeny, Njeri Onyango, David Otieno and Penninah Wahome in attendance.
Jack Oguda, the Chief Executive Officer of KPL, Richard Ekhalie representing AFC Leopards, Francis Wasunna, Bwana and Anthony Wasunna representing Gor Mahia were also present.
“It is true we were present during the hearing and we submitted our defence but for them to release the verdict without reading it to us as it has been in the past is unfair. We shall summon our lawyers and appeal if what I have been told from the KPL office is true,” Bwana stressed.
“For now, until they make it official, I shall treat everything as hearsay.”