The 2019/20 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season will continue as scheduled, the Governing Council has ruled. Kakamega Homeboyz, backed up by several other clubs, had petitioned the league managers to halt the season until the financial crisis is resolved.
With gaming giant SportPesa, who were the official title sponsors of the league now out of the picture, the league itself has been struggling to meet administrative expenses while teams no longer receive grants. With the sugar industry in Kenya crumbling, Sony, Chemelil and Nzoia are also barely surviving. It is with these challenges in mind that the Governing Council met on Wednesday to discuss the fate of the 2019/20 season.
It was resolved that the league would proceed even as the KPL and clubs continue to engage potential sponsors and partners.
“KPL Governing Council resolved that the 2019-20 season shall proceed as scheduled and that clubs must abide by the Rules Governing Kenyan Football. The decision was reached amidst calls to suspend the league while acknowledging that there is a financial crisis in the league and clubs after the withdrawal of its main sponsor,” KPL said in a statement.
The Governing Council, which is made up of the chairmen from the 18 clubs participating in the top-tier, also resolved that the teams will be covering the costs of match officials starting this weekend. The teams will be sharing the costs of the five match officials in any particular league game but this is to reimbursed as soon as the league lands a sponsor.
A top-tier referee is paid Sh5220 while a match commissioner earns Sh6640. Each game requires four referees plus a match commissioner. The costs increase to include transport and accommodation if the officials are travelling to the match venue. The minimum costs for the match officials in a single game is Sh30,000 but this at times rises up to Sh60,000 due to the factors mentioned before.
KPL CEO Jack Oguda said clubs will have to work harder to be self-reliant.
“When club licensing was introduced back in 2016, the league was somewhat stable since the clubs received grants and it was easy for them to go through the procedure but as it is currently, they have to roll their sleeves and seek partnerships and sponsorships that will make them self-reliant. That is the long-term solution to this financial mess Kenyan football is currently in,” Oguda told Nation Sport.
Meanwhile, nine matches have been scheduled for this weekend as the league enters round six.
Tusker v Sony Sugar – Machakos – 10am
Wazito v Kakamega Homeboys – Machakos – 2pm (Live)
AFC Leopards v Western Stima – Machakos – 4:15pm (Live)
Bandari v Chemelil – Mbaraki – 3pm
Kisumu AllStars v Mathare United – Kisumu – 3pm
Nzoia Sugar v Sofapaka – Sudi – 3pm
Ulinzi Stars v KCB – Afraha – 3pm
Zoo v Posta Rangers – Kericho – 3pm
Kariobangi Sharks v Gor Mahia – Afraha – 4pm (Live)