July 6, 2020

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Are Gor champs or not? KPL, FKF quarrel on how to end season

Another battle front has been opened between Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and Kenyan Premier League after the federation yesterday announced that the football season had ended.

FKF president Nick Mwendwa seemingly unilaterally declared Gor Mahia as the 2019/20 Kenyan Premier League champions.

In a series of tweets, the outspoken football administrator said the federation had decided to end all its league due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But in a quick rejoinder KPL, who own and run the league, said they were not party to the decision.

Said KPL in a letter to FKF secretary Barry Otieno: “For avoidance of doubt this is to bring to your attention that KPL will not be party to such decisions that is contemptuous with the SDT ruling delivered on the of 17 March, 2020 and sustained by the SDT further directions issued on 24 April, 2020.”

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The Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) ruled that the mandate of the FKF executive had ended.

KPL asserted they had the legal mandate to run the league and sought to be furnished with minutes of the FKF meeting that resolved to end the season.

The top football leagues in the country were suspended last month as the government introduced social restriction measures to help fight the spread of coronavirus.

These included a ban on the use of all public sporting facilities, curfew, and inter-county travel.

Mwendwa said he was guided by the “FKF Rules and Regulations Governing Kenyan Football 2019” document.

Section 2.6.1.2 reads: “Where all clubs in the league have completed the first round fixture but less than 75 per cent league games played, the table standings at the end of the first round shall be considered as the final table standing of the league.”

By the time the league was stopped, teams had played 24 rounds of matches, which is less than 75 per cent hence section 2.6.1.2 applies as Mwendwa explained:

“It is impossible for all football leagues to resume due to the current situation and the restrictions imposed. Even if they were to resume after the extension of the 21 days government curfew, it means we have to give players at least two weeks to train before resumption and another three weeks or so for the matches to be played, basically meaning the leagues would end early August.”

He added: “It would be impossible to start the new season in good time as our rules state we have to give teams at least 60 days for preseason before a new season kicks off.”

In an earlier letter to FKF, KPL said they were strongly against the annulment of the league at this time “without first exploring other avenues which will see the season played to the end”.

KPL said that Caf had not given any timelines on when they African leagues should be completed.

Said KPL: “Ending the league can only be considered as a solution if there has been such a directive from Caf to all its members for the Leagues to end by a certain date.

“Since Caf has not concluded its own club competitions it therefore makes no sense at all to insinuate that Caf is rushing its members to end their seasons. Should such a directive come from Caf, KPL will exercise its mandate to give the way forward to FKF on the fate of the league after convening a Governing Council meeting.

Gor Mahia are at the helm of the KPL standings with 54 points, followed by Kakamega Homeboyz with 47 points but with a game in hand and Tusker on 46 points also with a game in hand.

“We have seven tiers in Kenyan football and the above doesn’t apply to the KPL alone. It trickles down to all the leagues,” said Mwendwa.

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