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Joint FKF, KPL team to probe 18-team plan

ULINZI-PRAYNAIROBI, November 17- Football Kenya Federation and their Kenyan Premier League (KPL) counterparts formed joint committees on Monday to look into proposals of expanding the top-flight to 18 teams and change of the domestic football calendar.

“Football Kenya Federation (FKF) held a meeting with principal stakeholders attended by representative of KPL and SuperSports to discuss two agenda namely change of football calendar and 18-team format in 2015

“The meeting resolved to have two technical committees established to look at the two proposals and report back within 30 days and 14 days respectively,” the press release from the federation read.

FKF and KPL chief executive officers, Michael Esakwa and Jack Oguda will sit in both committees.

George Odhiambo (KPL), Nick Mwenda (FKF) and advisors Arnold Kanyagonda (KPL) and Andrea Da Silva (FKF) will serve in the change of football calendar group.

FKF vice-president Robert Asembo and George Odhiambo (KPL) are others in the 18-team league board.

The latest development shows a thawing of relations between the football and league governing bodies after the former appeared to bulldoze their way by introducing the two proposals without consulting the latter.

-Stiff opposition to 18-team league-

In their Governing Council meeting last Friday KPL rejected the 18-team league proposal but opted not to make their resolutions public until they met their FKF counterparts.

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FKF boss Sam Nyamweya threw the country’s game into a tailspin by announcing the expansion plans league whilst calling for KPL to cut down on administration costs to accommodate the extra sides.

The Governing Council resolved to stick with the 16-team format whilst launching a probe into teams promoted from the second-tier Super League run by FKF.

“They ruled out the expansion of the league and following complaints of biased boardroom decisions in the race for promotion, the teams forwarded to be included in next season’s KPL will be investigated,” a highly placed source at the league management body confided then.

“To avoid an all out confrontation with FKF before the investigations are complete, the Governing Council has shelved a formal announcement.”

According to figures released by Nyamweya last week, KPL receives USD3.17m (Sh220m) annually in sponsorship yet member clubs received USD77.8m (Sh7m) at the end of each season meaning there were funds to cater for the additional teams, match officials and logistics.

Launched in 2007, KPL has evolved as the most lucrative arm of Kenyan football with the failure of the national team ran by FKF to make an impact on international football with the country ranked 116.

The FKF boss declared Nairobi City Stars, who were relegated from the KPL after finishing second bottom in the 2014 campaign, would remain in the top division with Shabana FC and Posta Rangers, the winners of the Super League Zone A and B gaining automatic promotion.

A play-off between Super League runner-ups, Kakamega Homeboyz and Nakumatt FC would decide the third side to feature in Nyamweya’s 18-team KPL.

The football boss could not explain why bottom-side Top Fry Nakuru were axed only offering unsubstantiated claims that FKF’s Annual General Meeting in June ratified the expansion where ‘a sizeable number of KPL clubs were represented.’

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Despite being a co-opted member of the KPL Governing Council, Nyamweya did not place his proposals in front of the board of a vote instead releasing it through the media raising further eyebrows.

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