TIMOTHY OLOBULU / AIPS in NAIROBI: Kenya might find itself attracting a FIFA ban if the government cracks the whip on the local football federation, as Sports, Arts and Culture Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario has been constantly threatening.
By the day, the probability that the 2015 season will see two different leagues being played continues to seem more real.
On Friday, during a Special General Meeting, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) passed resolutions to officially relieve Kenyan Premier League Limited the mandate to run the top flight league and said they will be forming their own company, also announcing their league starts on February 14.
In a rejoinder, KPL say they do not whatsoever recognize FKF’s resolutions and maintained they will continue with their plans for the league which starts on February 21.
The biggest fight between these two organs has emanated from the desire by FKF to expand the league to 18 teams from a current 16-team format, something KPL has been vehemently against. FIFA sent in an independent consultant, Robert Niemann to try and solve the fiasco by giving his recommendations but after doing so, FKF totally rejected the report, saying Niemann had overstepped his mandate. FKF has subsequently failed to share the report with KPL, something that has increased the animosity between them.
“Was the FIFA report tabled during the SGM? Was it discussed before the resolutions were passed? As KPL, we don’t recognize the resolutions and we will continue planning for our league. Until the report is made available to us, then we will not back down for talks,” KPL CEO Jack Oguda said.
Among the resolutions passed at the SGM include;
-The Kenya Premier League shall be renamed FKF Premier League
-The league shall consist of 18 teams
-FKF have given mandate to the participating clubs to manage the league.
-The clubs who will elect the chairman and other officials will be appointed on regional balance
-FKF has already secured a sponsor for the league and each participating club will receive an annual grant of Sh9million (USD98,250) as part of the sponsorship package
-The Kenya Premier League Calendar for the 2016 season will be adjusted to run from August-May and conform with European leagues.
Seven out of the 16 KPL member clubs were represented at the SGM and this came just as officials from KPL held a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario in a bid to have their side heard. Wario, on his part after meeting KPL has instructed KPL to furnish his ministry as well as KPL with Niemann’s report as a permanent solution is sought on the wrangles.
He said; “It has come to my attention that the report from Robert Niemann has not been made available to any of the concerned parties including the ministry of Sports, Arts and culture… In view of the above, this is to request you to release the above report immediately without any delay,”
The same demands were also made by FIFA who after learning that KPL had not gotten the report instructed FKF to do so immediately. However, the same is yet to happen. Last week, FIFA wrote to FKF in another letter saying they have given the federation a leeway to find a local solution after FKF rejected Niemann’s report.
“We inform you that in our view, the report is objective as well as fair and that we do not have reason to doubt the neutrality of the consultant.”
“Once FKF confirm that the report has been provided to all concerned parties, including KPL as agreed, FIFA’s support in the process to find an amicable solution on whether participants for the 2015 KPL season should be 16 or 18 clubs will have come to an end.”
“This is particularly the case since after issuing the report FKF’s position is now that a solution can be found locally. We wish you well in finding a local solution.” FIFA said in its letter addressed to the FKF Secretary General Michael Esakwa.
KPL which was formed under the watch of FIFA over a decade ago to run the top flight league following un-ending football wrangles locally and they have been credited with lifting the status of the game including bringing on board several sponsors. South African company Supersport has been the league’s broadcast sponsors while East African Breweries have been the title sponsors for the last two years under their beer brand Tusker.