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Footballers bear the brunt in needless FKF, KPL tug of war

Wednesday May 27 2020
By MOSES OJUANG'

The Kenyan Premier League was concluded and Gor Mahia declared champions. At least that is what Kenyans know about the situation. What we were never told is that Football Kenya Federation (FKF) made this decision while keeping all other stakeholders in the dark.

It was a bold political move that tells a lot if one knows the chest-thumping that flies around between the Kenya Premier League Limited (KPL) and FKF.

It would be boring to go back to the genesis of the two entities’ wars at this moment. But the federation must tread carefully on the matter.

The last time the two had a public spat was when FKF headed by Nick Mwendwa decided that the top-tier league should have 18 teams, while KPL insisted on 16. The federation had its way, and the consequences are there for everybody to see.

The change in the league composition pushed continental broadcaster SuperSport out of the scene. There was a breach of contract since KPL’s deal with SuperSport involved a 16-team league and not 18.

All the teams in the league lost funding following the top sports broadcaster’s exit. The colourful league lost its lustre. One wonders why FKF stuck to its guns.

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Didn’t the federation know the ramifications? Were they just acting impulsively to be seen to be working? That was a blunder, we are sure, football managers must be regretting.

Further to the glaring error of judgment, league teams honoured fewer away matches as a result of loss of broadcaster revenue.

Towards the end of the league, before the Covid-19 lockdown, two teams were on the verge of being removed from the league for failure to honour their matches.

FKF opened another battlefront when it ended the league, crowned the champions, relegated and promoted some teams without consulting the KPL. Jack Oguda, the KPL chief executive officer, has been battling hard to reverse the federation’s decision to conclude the season without their consent.

Despite moving to the Sports Disputes Tribunal, in a joint suit with Chemelil Sugar Football Club to challenge the move, their time to have the league resume is clearly running out.

Time has run out for the KPL to reverse this sad decision due to the Covid-19 restrictions. This sets a very bad precedence that will further harm their poor relations and Kenyan football.

The federation has already sent the names of the teams that will represent Kenya in continental ties to the Confederation of African Football. FKF doesn’t hesitate to remind all and sundry that it is the only body recognised to run football in Kenya. A father who keeps reminding you that you are his son is unwise. There are higher chances the man might not even be the father!

Let’s hope that after Mwendwa was drilled by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) over use of football funds, FKF will turn over a new leaf and make a fresh start that is beneficial to the game.

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