NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18- With five matches to go before the 2017 Kenyan Premier League season comes to a conclusion, the league managers and Football Kenya Federation appear to read from different scripts as far as promotion and relegation is concerned.
This is set to open a new war front between Kenyan Premier League (KPL) and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) after their disagreement on the formation of number of teams in the 2018 league ended in the Court of Appeal.
While the league custodians have insisted that the FKF/KPL Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2015 should be followed to the latter where two teams will be relegated and two promoted from the National Super League (NSL), the federation differs.
FKF have said that two teams will be automatically relegated from the KPL and a play- off done between number 16 in the KPL and number three in the NSL.
“The agreement is very clear that two teams will be relegated at the end of the season and two promoted from the NSL. We cannot change rules in the middle. As far as KPL is concerned, that is the stand,” KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda told Capital Sport.
The KPL Governing Council’s meeting on September 22, according to Oguda affirmed the same, adding that the promotion and relegation criteria has to be agreed by both parties through the Joint Executive Committee (JEC) before the season it applies.
FKF on their side maintain that an agreement was made after the hearings at the Sports Disputes Tribunal early in the season after the expansion of the league to 18 teams.
“Two teams will be automatically relegated from the KPL and two will be automatically promoted from the NSL. After that, we will have a play-off between number 16 in the KPL and number three in the NSL. That is the position,” FKF Chief Executive Officer Robert Muthomi said.
The two differing opinions from the football managers will not go down well with teams in both the KPL and NSL who are either working to avoid the chop or eyeing promotion.
The KPL has five matches remaining while the NSL has a remainder of six games before the season ends.
In the relegation battle in the top tier, Western Stima and Muhoroni Youth occupy the bottom two slots with Muhoroni having a two game deficit with 24 points, four behind 17th placed Western Stima.
Thika United (28), Mathare United (30) and Bandari (33) are the teams above them at 16, 15 and 14th respectively.
In the promotion battle, former Premier League sides KCB and Ushuru occupy the top two slots of the NSL on 67 and 66 points respectively both after playing 30 matches. GOtv Shield semi-finalists Vihiga United are third with 65 points though they have played a match more.
Wazito are fourth with 63 points after 30 matches, two points behind Vihiga United.
An Appeal Court ruling on November 3 on whether the league should have 18 or 16 teams is expected to give direction on the matter. FKF appealed a High Court ruling by Judge John Mativo last month ordering that the top tier league should have 16 teams.
The Appellate Court consequently vacated orders to suspend Nakumatt and Zoo Kericho pending the decision, which is set for next month.