NAIROBI, November 25- The gloves have finally come off and a full-fledged battle for local football supremacy is on the cards after Kenyan Premier League (KPL) declared it will not accept an 18-team competition next season.
Tuesday’s announcement is indication all efforts to amicably resolve the simmering impasse with their Football Kenya Federation (FKF) that has moved to constitute their line-up for next season’s domestic top-flight with two extra teams have failed.
In a statement signed by chief executive, Jack Oguda, the league management body affirmed they would not tow the line a day after FKF ‘promoted’ Kakamega Homeboyz and Nakumatt FC to their proposed expanded 18-team KPL “as per recommendation of the FKF/KPL technical committee.”
“The federation National Executive Committee (NEC), which made the decision to increase the number of teams to 18, was not properly constituted as the members of Division One and KPL representatives have never been invited to the meetings as required by the Constitution and has on several occasions made decisions outside the Judicial Process contrary to its own Constitution,” Oguda writing on behalf of the KPL Executive Committee stressed.
“On Friday November 14, 2014 the KPL Governing Council met and opposed the 18-Team League and reconfirmed that the 2015 Season will be a 16-Team League.
“The sporting integrity dictates that the relegation and promotion is decided at the beginning of the season by all participating clubs and the relegation and promotion is bottom two clubs are relegated and the top two in the lower division promoted,” he added.
Federation president, Sam Nyamweya, is quoted in a local daily Tuesday saying “The committee did not want to interfere with the relegation process that is why Nairobi City Stars have to go down,” having earlier announced the Nairobi Kawangware based side that finished 14th last season would stay up.
KPL now deny such a meeting took place explaining their reasons to resist an expanded top flight starting with the call to their FKF rivals to remedy the plummeting form of national team Harambee Stars.
“Harambee Stars requires more time for friendly matches and for FIFA/CAF competitions in order to increase our FIFA Ranking and this cannot happen with expanding the league and the congestion of fixtures.
“The health of our players is also put into consideration whereby if the League is congested there is an increase in injuries and very few clubs have insurance medical cover to take care of the medical, recuperation and rehabilitation of the injured players which also affects and undermines the performance of the National teams,” Oguda’s statement underscored.
“In 2008 when the League assisted the Federation in running the National Team Harambee Stars the team managed to get to the best position ever in the FIFA Ranking of No.68 and the clubs had to sacrifice their grants that year. It is unfortunate that right now our National Team is at No.116 indicating that we are moving backwards.”
Responding to claims KPL were misappropriating money that would be better channelled to clubs, Oguda charged in a thinly veiled barb at the federation.
“The Kenyan Premier League is a Private Limited Company and is transparent and accountable and the audited financial statements of the Kenyan Premier League can be found on the KPL website www.kpl.co.ke. Despite being Private Limited Company and have published the audited financial statements, the Law requires all public entities such as the Federation to publish their audited financial statements to its members and public.”
The league management body also distanced itself in allegations published by FKF in a newspaper advert on Monday asserting the 18-team league was agreed upon by the two bodies stating; “The Draft Strategic Plan was presented by a consultant and was commented on by delegates but was not “adopted” as falsely claimed.
“The members agreed that all branches must also adopt the format of the draft Strategic Plan presented and resolved that a final Strategic Plan would be discussed at a later date to be adopted by the members.”