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Tribunal summons KPL over fixture delay

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“We are expecting the tribunal to make its ruling on Friday and we hope it will be to our favor. The MoU is very clear that matters of promotion and demotion will be decided by the Joint Executive Committee and their announcement that next season will have 18 teams was new to us,” KPL CEO Jack Oguda added.

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 2 -The Sports Disputes Tribunal has instructed Kenyan Premier League CEO Jack Oguda and other KPL officials to appear before it on Monday to show cause why the fixtures of the top tier have not been released despite an order by the tribunal on February 10.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) lawyer Patricia Mitei raised the concern about the failure by the league managers to release fixtures despite an earlier case involving fans in Kisumu crumbled and the orders stopping the league were vacated.

“My client is concerned that despite an order by this honorable tribunal, the league fixtures are yet to be released. We wrote a letter to them and also attached the vacating orders from the Kisumu court but up to today, we have not seen any fixtures,” Mitei told the tribunal on Thursday evening.

Tribunal chairman John Ohaga has also added his disappointment on the failure to release fixtures.

“It is a concern that since we issued the orders, the fixtures have not been released. We would like to be given a reason why this has not been done and we want whoever will represent KPL should come with a draft of fixtures,” Ohaga said in his short directive.

The fixtures will be released without four clubs which are battling for the two remaining slots in the top tier. Sofapaka and Muhoroni Youth were relegated on club licensing grounds and replaced by Vihiga United and KCB.

-Sofapaka, Muhoroni case-

Legal representatives from Sofapaka, Muhoroni Youth, FKF and KPL at the Sports Dispute Tribunal on March 2, 2017.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Both Sofapaka and Muhoroni have contested the decision at the Sports Tribunal and the case came up for hearing on Thursday evening, spanning close to five hours.

The two clubs have presented their case separately and it was Sofapaka’s case which came up first for hearing while the Muhoroni case was mentioned. However, Ohaga has asked that the two cases be enjoined since they more or less cover the same ground.

Meanwhile, fans of the two clubs who had taken the case up to the court in Kisumu have been enjoined in the case as interested parties as was advised when the orders they sought to stop the league were vacated last week.

Lawyer Jimmy Simiyu who has been representing the fans was present at the tribunal on Thursday where his request to be enjoined was accepted by all the parties involved.

Both Sofapaka and FKF legal representatives argued out their cases while the FKF side presented club licensing chairman Prof Edwin Wamukoya as a witness in a bid to make the club licensing process more understandable to the tribunal.

Prof Wamukoya was given a hard time by the KPL and Sofapaka legal representative Mary Bonyo who argued that the demotion of Batoto ba Mungu was not done fairly while punching holes on the club licensing process.

The club licensing chairman disclosed that Sofapaka scored a paltry overall score of 38.5 percent and majorly fell off on the financial bit (Criteria A) where he argued they failed to show the club would be self sustaining.

Football kenya Federation legal representative Patricia Mitei at the Sports Dispute Tribunal on March 2, 2017.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

However, according to Bonyo, the club presented documents showing that the club had money in its account and the club owner Elly Kalekwa had enough money in his own account to run the club for the entire season.

Wamukoya though contested the bit saying they never received an assurance the money which was held in a foreign dollar account in Kinshasa, DR Congo would be availed to the team and it was on that ground they failed to score the club in that area.

Bonyo though contested the decision saying it was made out of assumption. The legal representative further added that the claim that players had not been paid for up to four months was false while presenting a signed document by all players indicating they had received all their salaries.

Meanwhile, Bonyo has also argued that nowhere in the CAF nor FKF club licensing manual does it say that a club will be relegated if it does not meet the licensing threshold, adding that the provision of relegation only come sin if a club fails to apply for licensing.

She also added; “This is a fairly new set of rules and it would only be fair if the committee and the federation looked at other sanctions and not necessarily relegating clubs.”

Bonyo also went on to quote other modes of sanctions applied by other federations including docking of points, financial grant cuts, suspension of personnel and playing behind closed doors.

Wamukoya will be further cross examined by Bonyo on Wednesday afternoon with the fans’ lawyer Simiyu also set to interrogate the club licensing chair. Mitei for the federation will also make her final submissions on the case.

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