NAIROBI, February 18- Heated D-day discussions between Football Kenya Federation and Kenyan Premier League to unlock the stand-off over composition and running of the 2015 domestic Premier League are underway at Nairobi’s Southern Sun Hotel amid tight security.
FKF president, Sam Nyamweya and all federation big guns as well as the top brass of KPL led by chairman Ambrose Rachier and CEO, Jack Oguda, are converged to seek a lasting solution to a crisis that has seen both insist on pushing their Premier Leagues in a confusing start to the current top flight season.
Reports from the venue indicate the protagonists are nowhere near a solution with a strained atmosphere and hardline stands from both parties providing stumbling blocks with KCB chairman, George Odhiambo, who left the tense room for a break muttering, “We are still discussing the same issue all over again and no solution yet.”
Nyamweya is chairing the session with the KPL side is feeling short changed since there is no one to mediate the crunch meeting that leaves them without command to air their views according Odhiambo who is also the financial officer for the league company.
In what could be a red letter day for Kenyan football, failure to broker an agreement to unlock the stalemate that started as soon as the 2014 season ended last November when FKF announced the expansion of the league to 18 teams as opposed to KPL’s insistence on a 16-team format could see the Government step in to force a resolution.
Already, talk both entities could be disbanded and caretaker committees to run football and the league appointed have gathered momentum in what would inevitably attract a Fifa ban for State interference in accordance to the world body statutes.
Capital Sport’s, Alex Isaboke, at the scene, reports the two parties are locked in closed door discussions with police officers guarding the conference room where what is viewed as a last chance saloon for both parties to thrash out consensus to avert the threat made on Monday by Sports Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Hassan Wario, he will invoke the Sports Act to end the crisis by close of business Wednesday.
FKF have remained steadfast in the 18-league format through three Joint Executive Committee meetings since December and Monday’s sitting at Wario’s office with their KPL counterparts who have stuck to their 16-team guns.
On Sunday, the competition christened FKF Premier League kicked-off in Machakos with Shabana FC beating home Nakumatt FC 1-0 with the KPL scheduled to start this weekend with defending champions, Gor Mahia FC facing 2008 winners Mathare United in one of the key fixtures.
Among the sticking issues besides the number of teams at the centre of the standoff is a multimillion shilling broadcast deal with South Africa’s pay television providers, SuperSport that has roped in 16 KPL sides in a new contract running until 2021 with FKF contracting MP&S agency to sell the same broadcast rights on their behalf.
Promotion of Shabana FC, Nakumatt FC, Kakamega FC and Posta Rangers FC to the Premier League from FKF Nationwide Super Leagues is also being contested by KPL who claim boardroom interference with FKF boss Nyamweya accused of forcefully pushing Shabana that hails from his home region to the top flight, a claim he has strenuously denied.
The other sticking issue is the federation’s accusations KPL is arrogating themselves the right to run the league which is the preserve of the governing body as mandated by Fifa with FKF maintaining they have the right to give any entity the mandate to run the top flight on their behalf, going as far as to withdraw the latter’s authority to run the league at a Special General Meeting held in Kakamega last month.
Besides officials from both sides, club chairmen; James Musyoki (Tusker), George Odhiambo (KCB), Moses Adagala (Muhoroni), Ambrose Rachier (Gor Mahia), Allan Kasavuli ( AFC Leopards), Elly Mboni Kalekwa (Sofapaka), Jared Nivaton Shabana), Cleophas Toto Shimanyula (Kakamega Homeboyz), Laban Jobita (Western Stima), Robert Muthomi (Nakuru Allstars),Bob Munro (Mathare United), Nakumatt FC and Jared Livaton (Shabana FC) are in the meeting.
Yet to arrive by going to press are Ulinzi, Chemelil, Sony, Bandari and Thika United bosses.