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KPL suspends Zoo, Nakumatt matches pending hearing of FKF appeal

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Zoo Kericho players line up before their Kenyan Premier League match against Ulinzi Stars at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on April 30, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22- The Kenyan Premier League Governing Council on Friday afternoon made a decision to suspend Zoo Kericho and Nakumatt FC’s matches until an appeal made by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is heard and determined.

A High Court ruling on Thursday annulled FKF’s decision to increase the size of the Kenyan Premier League to 18 teams from 16, thereby making null and void the promotion of Zoo Kericho and Nakumatt who finished third and fourth in the National Super League last season.

“We called in a legal representative today to interpret the ruling at our Governing Council meeting and he informed us that we don’t have much of a choice than to respect the rule of law. The two teams will have their matches suspended until the Appeal Court makes a decision. Both Zoo and Nakumatt officials were present during the meeting today,” KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda said.

“According to Part (d) of the ruling, it clearly states we have to have 16 teams in 2017. There are no two ways about it and it is a decision of the High Court,” he added.

Nakumatt were scheduled to travel to Kisumu this weekend to face relegation threatened Western Stima while Zoo were at home to fellow league new comers Nzoia United.

Nakumatt FC players ose for a group photo before a past kenyan Premier League match. Photo/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

FKF on Thursday evening said it would be appealing the decision and if their case is heard and ruled in their favor, then the status quo will be retained. If the appeal is thrown out, then it will open a new can of worms.

Both Zoo and Nakumatt have already played 25 rounds of matches and are sitting safe from relegation. If the appeal is thrown out and the two teams remain in the cold from KPL action, then they might as well resolve to court action.

“It is quite a complicated situation, but we will cross that bridge when we get there. For now, let us wait and hear what the Appeal Court will decide,” Oguda added.

The case was filed by ex FKF boss Sam Nyamweya who accused FKF of arbitrarily increasing the number of teams in the top tier contrary to a Memorandum of Understanding signed between them and KPL in 2015.

KPL had objected the decision to increase the size of the league by two teams, taking their complaint to the Sports Disputes Tribunal. Ultimately, the tribunal ruled that FKF had authority on football in the country and were thus right to increase the size of the top tier.

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