Some of our sporting association bosses get so intoxicated with their positions they begin to act like they are a government. Worse, they wantonly issuing decrees, bans and threats that infringe on the very laws of this land.
Take the case of Athletic Kenya and their chairman Isaiah Kiplagat. Sometimes early this year Kiplagat went on the warpath. His battle was with AK’s pet punching bag, athletics agents, for cheating and mistreating athletes.
He announced the banning of four agents. Kiplagat, apparently does not seem to like agents and has intermittently threatened them with dire consequences, the way a school master reads the riot act to pesky students.
But wait a minute. How could AK do this? Did they even have the legal powers to issue such orders. If the agent violates a contract with an athlete the remedy lies in a civil court not the whimsical announcements of an AK top dog.
This week Kiplagat was barking again, ordering the immediate closure of an athletics club in Kericho over allegations for sexual exploitation of female runners.
I am in no way condoning men having sex with under-age girls or marrying them altogether as was coming out in Kiplagat’s accusations. I also do not want to dabble in the political intrigues between North Rift and South Rift, which I hear are behind the latest AK outburst.
But it is laughable for AK to order a legally registered private entity to shut down. Does AK or Kiplagat for that matter have such powers? But for the sake of it, let’s play along. Okay, AK issue their decree which is then ignored by the training club.
Does AK then storm the camp with police to arrest the owners? On what grounds? That an athlete got pregnant and got married. That reason would never stand in law.
The much AK can do is bar the athletes and the owners of that camp from participating in AK sanctioned events. I am surprised AK got coverage on this matter.
Perhaps there should have been more coverage on a report by Transparency International last week that levels of transparency and accountability are extremely low in sports particularly when it came to publicly sharing information. It said this was brought about by weak governance structures and led to abuses.
You just need to look at the modus operandi of our associations to appreciate the gravity of IT’s observations. Take the case of Football Kenya Limited.
Routinely, attendance figures at international home matches never tally with the officials ones. FKL signed a Sh27-million broadcast right deal with Sport Five this year. Not a word from them on how and when the money will/was paid and how it will be used.
KRFU touts its squeaky clean image. But they have a log in their eye. I cannot recall them ever releasing official attendance figures and gate receipts for the annual, hugely successful, perennially sold-out Tusker Safari Sevens.
But it is not all gloom in sports. I found it shocking, but pleasantly welcome, when two, old as Kenyan football history, arch-rivals, AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia, had their respective fans team up to support both sides.
These two clubs, whose supporters have regularly clashed sometimes violently and virulently, are now sharing the same side of the stand at the stadium to jointly cheer their beloved clubs. It is so “unfootball” and so beautiful, while it lasts.