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Confusion as court orders for 16-team KPL

The High Court has ruled that the 2017 KPL comprise of 16 teams.Photo/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21- The High Court in Nairobi on Thursday ordered that the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) be composed of 16 teams, and Football Kenya Federation’s (FKF) promotion of four teams from the National Super League is null and void.

The ruling consequently overturns the decision by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) earlier in the year that allowed the expansion of the top tier to an 18-team format.

Also, in the ruling delivered by High Court judge John Mativo, the Club Licensing rules imposed by FKF which nearly cost the relegation of Muhoroni Youth and Sofapaka at the start of the season have been declared null and void.

The ruling now throws into limbo the composition of the top tier league with FKF and KPL having already worked to an 18-team format after arbitration by the Sports Disputes Tribunal.

“A decision be and is hereby reached that the Kenyan Premier League shall have a maximum of 16 teams during the 2017 season, consisting of the fourteen (14) Kenyan Premier League teams which qualified for sporting merit on the field during the 2016 season plus the two (2) highest ranked clubs at the end of the 2016 season in the Football Kenya Federation’s National Super League,” a section of the ruling read.

AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano gives instructions to his team at half time during their match against Thika United on September 20 2017. Photo/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

The current season has 25 rounds of matches already played on an 18-team format.

“We are yet to see the contents of the ruling and so we cannot make a comment. We will give a comprehensive response once we get a copy and analyze it. But, we cannot rule out the possibility of an appeal. That is one of the options available,” FKF Communications Director Barry Otieno told Capital Sport.

Efforts to reach either FKF boss Nick Mwendwa or Chief Executive Officer Robert Muthomi, both listed as second respondents in the case were futile.

KPL CEO Jack Oguda has meanwhile said the judgment will be discussed during their Governing Council meeting on Friday.

“As KPL we have to respect the rule of law because if we don’t that will be contempt of court. We will discuss the contents with the Governing Council and have a legal interpretation of everything then decide on the way forward,” Oguda told Capital Sport.

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FKF President Nick Mwendwa (right) with his predecessor Sam Nyamweya ( left) after a meeting at FKF’s Secretariat on 16th, February, 2016. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

The case was filed by immediate former FKF boss Sam Nyamweya who accused the current regime lead by Mwendwa of passing club licensing regulations without participation of members and stakeholders.

He has also accused FKF of going against a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the federation and KPL that would last till 2020 which gave KPL mandate to run the top tier league as well as dictating a 16-team format.

Nyamweya further argues that FKF ‘unilaterally’ expanded the top tier league arguing ‘it would lead to wrangles and cause Kenya to be banned from international football by FIFA’.

FKF in their responses argued that all the decisions taken by the federation were rubberstamped by last year’s Annual General Meeting.

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