NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 14 – Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa will be cross-examined on Thursday as the Kenyan Premier League vs FKF case over the top tier league expansion goes into day two of full hearing at the Sports Disputes Tribunal.
On Tuesday, KPL presented outgoing Chairman Ambrose Rachier as their witness as they seek to get an interpretation over the legality of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two parties last year giving KPL the authority to run the top tier league.
The league managers maintained that according to the agreement matters of promotion and demotion would be left to a Joint Executive Committee, drawing members from the two bodies.
“In an agreement that was mediated by a FIFA consultant Robert Newman, it was agreed that any decision to expand the league will be undertaken by the JEC and such should be notified at least one full season before the new dates of implementation,” Rachier said as he was cross-examined by KPL lawyer Geoffrey Obura.
FKF lawyer Ken Ochieng’ however said that communication over the federation’s intention to expand the league was sent to KPL in January, but the latter denies receiving any communication, arguing they only knew of the intention to expand the league in September.
He further argued that the same agreement was not valid as it was only signed by former president Sam Nyamweya, without the blessing of the National Executive Committee as per Article 36 of the FKF constitution, an allegation that was put down by Obura.
The lawyer read out the preamble of the agreement which outlined that the decision was binding and had the full blessing of the NEC, against the allegations of Ochieng.
The FKF lawyer further added that the powers of running the top tier league was a preserve of the federation according to Article 34 of the FKF constitution and hence it would be within their jurisdiction to determine the number of teams to play.
KPL through Rachier, himself a seasoned lawyer objected to the same arguing that Article 76 of the FKF constitution had given them the powers to run the league as an independent company while FKF would run and organize the GOtv Shield, Women’s League, National Super League and all the remaining lower tier leagues.
Rachier further said FKF had not given them enough reason to expand the league despite the matter having first rise in 2014. KPL has listed a total of 27 reasons as to why they are objected to an increase in the number of teams to 18 from 16, one of them being financial.
“An additional two teams into the league will bring an additional 66 matches to the season and this is an extra cost. Already the clubs are struggling and the sponsors have categorically stated they will not be willing to increase their sponsorship money,”
“Two additional teams will mean we share what we have at the moment and it is the clubs to suffer. We have made it clear to FKF that if they agree to finance the two extra teams, we have no problem,” Rachier further said.
Another issue raised at the hearing was ownership with FKF in their affidavit having argued that the KPL is owned by only four individuals. However, Obura produced documents showing that all the 16 KPL teams were share holders of the limited company.
Mwendwa is Thursday expected to give the tribunal reasons why they would want an increase in top tier football even as he maintained on Tuesday night at the FOYA awards he would pursue the matter to the end.
Obura has also insinuated he might be calling in former president Nyamweya as a witness, but added he had not fully made the decision.
Meanwhile, SDT chair John Ohaga has maintained his tone for mediation over the matter, but assured a decision will be reached at early enough to accommodate planning for next season.