NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12- When they emerged from a two-and-a-half hour meeting, no agreement was reached between the Football Kenya Federation and the Kenyan Premier League officials over the expansion of the top tier league to 18 teams.
The black smoke from the Kasarani Stadium VIP lounge was in immense proportion and the body language from both sets of officials was telling that nothing was agreed in what had been set out as a make or break meeting.
“We have not agreed on anything and everything we proposed to the KPL, they rejected,” Nick Mwendwa, the FKF President said with a grim look on his face, not his usual enthusiastic self.
The Federation is pushing for an increase of two teams in next year’s top tier while the KPL is sticking to its guns, insisting on the continuation of the current 16-team format.
“So far, no one has explained to us why 18 teams and not 16 teams. As far as we are concerned, the 16-team league is the way to go,” KPL chair Ambrose Rachier told Capital Sport after he emerged from the meeting, flanked by his fellow club chairmen.
The Gor Mahia chair added; “We have reasons which we have advanced on why we can’t agree to an 18-team league. With addition of two teams we have 66 additional games and there will be no space in the calendar to fill those games. Also, the health of the players is put at a risk,”
“Another issue is the sponsorship money. Supersport have stipulated they will not add money to finance the two extra teams and for us, where will we get that money?”
However, Mwendwa remains optimistic a solution will be arrived at before December 15.
“We shall meet later to take a position about these matters and know how to move and consider actions we will take. We will resolve this matter before December 15th. We shall close it once and for all,” the Federation head said.
Another issue that was a bone of contention was the shareholding structure of KPL with FKF tabling documents which showed KPL had a shareholding structure of only four people. However, KPL tabled other documents clearing the air that all 16-teams in the league are shareholders.
“We shall take both docs to registrar for him to verify. If what we have is found to be wrong and what they have is right, then that’s what we want. But if what we have is right, then we shall give instructions on changes to be made,” Mwendwa said.
Rachier meanwhile has termed as malicious the earlier reports suggesting that only four individuals hold shares in the limited company.
“The malicious reports were giving a picture of fraud intended to paint a picture in one direction. We have produced documents showing all shareholding with seven of us as directors chosen in every year. We have corrected that misleading info put in there with malice,” Rachier offered.
KPL’s case at the Sports Tribunal will be heard on November 22. The league managers want the tribunal to give an interpretation of an agreement signed between KPL and FKF last year over matters of managing the top tier league.
“We are not saying we will not go to 18 teams. We want to make that very clear. What we are saying is that there is a procedure of expanding the league in the agreement we had last year and it should be followed,” Rachier offered.
Saturday afternoon’s meeting was also attended by representatives from league sponsors SportPesa and broadcast sponsors Supersport.