Football Football

Confusion reigns supreme in FKF-PL

Kariobangi Sharks versus Posta Rangers in a past FKF-PL match. PHOTO/
Kariobangi Sharks versus Posta Rangers in a past FKF-PL match. PHOTO/

NAIROBI, October 22 – The conclusion of the Football Kenya Federation Premier League is mired in confusion after its Governing Council suspended the second tier competition indefinitely, only for the parent body to swiftly declare they have powers to do so on Thursday.

At the centre of the confusion is the battle to control the federation at the forthcoming elections where FKF-PL chairman, Nick Mwendwa, is seeking to unseat Sam Nyamweya, the incumbent football boss.

The resolution to put the league on hold was arrived following the federation’s decision to award Kisii based Shabana whose patron is Nyamweya and former top flight side Kakamega Homeboyz contentious boardroom points.

On Monday FKF docked West Kenya three points after they allegedly fielded an illegible player when they faced Shabana in March while St. Joseph were penalized for the same reasons when they squared it off with Homeboyz.

The outcome did go well to the rest of the FKF-PL sides who protested the move, accusing the federation of trying to force the teams to gain promotion in next season’s Kenyan Premier League with the number of sides to go up or down yet to be determined.

Speaking after a meeting that was attended by all the FKF-PL affiliated clubs bar Shabana and Homeboyz, FKL-PL vice-chairman, Ken Ochieng said there is no credibility in officiating since the referees have not been paid their dues for 12 matches.

“When we looked at both cases, we thought it was unfair to dock points and as Governing council, we have decided points will remain as they were. We feel it was wrong for the federation to do that especially in a matter where they have all documentation regarding matches and players eligibility.

“We are very much disturbed and fear that now with four matches to go, there might be credibility issues. We also discussed the MOU signed between FKF and KPL and it’s really our concern that up to now, we don’t know the criteria of promotion and relegation.

“And with that, we have come to a conclusion that we are no longer going to honour any further matches commencing this weekend until those issues are addressed,” Ochieng announced.

Last season, similar outcry erupted in the second-tier competition when Shabana was awarded six points to finish top of zone B but their return to the KPL for the first time since 2006 collapsed after the top flight league body failed to recognize them.

Walkovers has been the order of the day in the league after the federation stopped remitting the monthly Sh1m grant after their partnership with broadcast rights agent MP & Silva collapsed amid misrepresentation claims adversely blamed on the federation.

The cash crunch led to the withdrawal of Naivasha based Finlays Horticulture with Zoo Kericho, who were contentiously denied promotion last season, leading the standings on 66 points, two ahead of Homeboyz while Shabana are 11th on 36.

-FKF riposte-  

In a rejoinder, FKF dismissed the resolutions to halt the league and threatened to take actions on teams that will fail to honour their fixtures.

The federation termed the meeting null and void as it was not sanctioned by them and accused Kariobangi Sharks chairman, Mwendwa, for misusing his position in the FKF PL to undermine the federation for political expediency.

“Disrupting football activities as a way of gaining political points contravenes the FIFA Statutes and the Code of Ethics and persons guilty of contravening the provisions of the Statutes are liable for serious disciplinary actions, which FKF will not hesitate to mete out to protect the integrity of the game.

“The Memorandum of Understanding signed with KPL is a document defining the relationship with the league administration body, as guided by FIFA.

“The decision to readmit KPL as the league administrators was taken by the Third AGM, making it necessary for the National Executive Committee to formalize the relationship by way of the MOU and is clearly not within the purview of the FKF PL.

“It is therefore mischievous to raise the matter in the manner raised by the convener and attendants of the said meeting,” their statement read.

Of concern is the perpetuation of chaos in managing football in the country under Nyamweya’s watch as he seeks a second term to govern the game in the body.

In March, Nyamweya decreed the FKF-PL was the top flight league and promoted an unprecedented 14 teams after his efforts to bulldoze through an 18-team KPL were resisted by the league administrative body.

During the crisis, he rushed to court and obtained an injunction order against KPL that saw the league suspended for a fortnight before Lady Justice Roselyn Aburili tossed out the defective plea and referred the dispute to arbitration.

FIFA intervention saw the FKF-PL downgraded to the second tier with a Memorandum of Understanding between the feuding parties agreed in September.

The deal with MP&Silva who brought on Tanzania based Azam as broadcast partners guaranteed the federation Sh250m per annum and a first tranche of Sh87m was paid that entitled each club to Sh1m a month.

However, four of the 18 FKF-PL teams failed to receive their remittances in the second month of the deal and in May, the French based firm pulled the plug on the whole agreement citing FKF had led them to believe fraudulently they had rights to the top tier.

Despite the setback, FKF-PL Governing Council ruled to continue the competition to the end of the season on shoestring budgets before the latest straw that broke the camel’s back.