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FIFA overturns tribunal ruling on FKF polls

FKF president Nick Mwendwa says Kenya will bid to hduring a past media briefing. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 25 – The current Football Kenya Federation (FKF) executive will remain in office, world football governing body FIFA said on Wednesday, declining a request from the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) to form a normalization committee.

The tribunal for the second time cancelled the FKF elections last week and threw the entire executive, bar president Nick Mwendwa and CEO Barry Otieno out of office, saying their tenure was over and asked FIFA to form a normalization committee.

However, in a response sent to CEO Otieno on Wednesday, FIFA says the SDT does not have a jurisdiction over the Federation and the status quo remains, until a meeting between all parties comes up with a solution.

“We note that the SDT is not a national arbitration tribunal in the sense of FIFA circular 1010 dated 20 December 2005. Despite the aforementioned, the FKF surprisingly subjected to the SDT by its own initiative while it was not obliged to so do as per its Statutes,” the statement signed by FIFA’s Member Associations Officer Veron Mosengo-Omba stated.

FKF President Nick Mwendwa appoints Barry Otieno acting CEO. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

It added; “This however does not entail that the SDT decisions are binding on FIFA when it comes to its prerogatives and remit for which the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland has exclusive competence (cf. art. 57 and 58 of FIFA Statutes, 2019 edition).”

“Therefore, we wish to emphasize that the relevant SDT ruling has no legal effect on FIFA.”

FKF had initially gone to the tribunal seeking an interpretation on the Sports Registrar’s threat to stop the election due to issues surrounding conforming to the Sports Act.

The Tribunal also revisited the issues it had asked the Federation to comply with in the first instance when they dissolved the elections last year.

While the John Ohaga-led committee was satisfied with all steps that the Federation had undertaken in getting set for the repeat elections, of which the branch level had already completed, they were not satisfied with the sections of eligibility of candidates vying for presidency.

According to Ohaga, who ruled in favour of the Sam Nyamweya led faction, the eligibility criteria for the seat of president were not all inclusive and were ‘set out to lock other candidates’.

Sports Disputes Tribunal chairman John Ohaga. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

But in its letter on Wednesday, FIFA insists that the rules were subjected to public participation and no one, even in the General Assembly objected to the new rules.

Nonetheless, the world soccer governing body says it will put the interests of all interested parties into consideration, setting up a meeting to find a lasting solution.

“Should the world health situation not evolve positively by 6 April 2020, we shall contact you to explore other possibilities including a meeting by video conference. Pending this meeting and for the avoidance of any doubt, the current FKF Executive Committee members, including its President, shall remain in office,” FIFA stated.

Earlier on, a meeting between the CS, FIFA officials together with the FKF top brass and tribunal chair John Ohaga were set to have a meeting in Zurich in January this year, but CS Amina asked for it to be cancelled after they met internally to find a solution.

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