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Broke clubs petition KPL to suspend league

Thursday October 10 2019

Kakamega Homeboyz players celebrate a goal during their Kenyan Premier League match against Kariobangi Sharks at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on September 22, 2019. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE |

Kakamega Homeboyz players celebrate a goal during their Kenyan Premier League match against Kariobangi Sharks at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on September 22, 2019. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

JEFF KINYANJUI
By JEFF KINYANJUI
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Kakamega Homeboyz have petitioned the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) to suspend the competition until a solution to the financial crisis in the league is solved.

The KPL finds itself in a financial conundrum following the exit of gaming firm SportPesa who were the league title sponsors.

An official petition initiated by Kakamega Homeboyz and supported by six more clubs cites five reasons why the league matches should be suspended.

They want the KPL to convene a special Governing Council meeting to discuss the way forward.

With five rounds of matches played so far, match officials are yet to be paid a single penny, KPL is yet to find a sponsor and have no funds for administrative costs, clubs receive no grants while one walkover – Sony versus AFC Leopards, has already been awarded due to the challenges.

EMERGENCY MEETING

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It is with that basis that Kakamega Homeboyz officially wrote to KPL’s Governing Council requesting for an emergency meeting to suspend the league.

According to Kakamega Homeboyz CEO Bernard Shitiabayi, a number of clubs – Chemelil Sugar, Sony Sugar, Nzoia Sugar, Mathare United, Kariobangi Sharks, Kisumu AllStars support the petition and await the decision of the Governing Council in the next 14 days.

Kariobangi Sharks chairman Robert Maoga however says suspending the league is not a permanent solution but agrees there’s an urgent need for the Governing Council to meet and deliberate on a number of pertinent issues.

“We have to look at issues on a broader perspective and analyse the ramifications of our actions. We have requested for an extraordinary Governing Council meeting to discuss the way forward on the issues affecting our league. It is not just an issue of the league managers but the clubs as well have to step up. The club licensing was clear and I think this is the right time to have a look at things with an open mind and find sustainable solutions," he said.

KPL’s mandate to run the top-tier also expires in October next year and Homeboyz, in their petition, want the Governing Council to request the Football Kenya Federation to extend it for five more years.

“It is very hard for KPL to negotiate any deal with potential sponsors at the moment. If the term is extended the it becomes easier to woo them. To avoid more walkovers, suspend the league until an extension period for league management is granted to allow them to negotiate better sponsorship deals ,” the statement said.

KPL CEO Jack Oguda acknowledged receiving the petition.

“I have forwarded the same to the league chairman (Ambrose Rachier) and we now await for his advice on the next course of action. It’s a tough balancing act in my opinion as there are several clubs that comfortably honour matches while others cannot. Sony and Kakamega Homeboyz have officially requested us to postpone their matches.”

Sony Sugar last Saturday failed to honour a home fixture at Awendo against AFC Leopards citing financial problems while AFC Leopards players on Wednesday, for the second time in a fortnight, refused to train as they continue to demand for two months salaries and allowances. The situation is not different in most of the KPL teams.

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