The Nation (Nairobi)

22 June 2006

Kenya: KPL Official Gives Fresh Hope to Gor

Nairobi — The Kenya Premier League Limited yesterday appeared to be softening its stance on Gor Mahia's expulsion from the premiership.

KPL's vice chairman Phillip Omondi said they were ready to rescind their decision to suspend and relegate the club if its officials agreed to meet and talk with KPL.

Omondi said the KPL was open for discussion with Gor if the club "was ready to respect the rules laid down by KPL."

The official's reaction came as Kisii's Shabana Football Club founder Dogo Khan led a chorus of calls for Gor to be reinstated into the 20-team competition.

"There is still room for Gor to come and negotiate," Omondi said yesterday.

"We are ready to listen to their case. Suspending and relegating Gor Mahia was a very hard decision for us but we had to take it because of the insincerity of its officials and lack of respect for the rules they were part of."

He said KPL tried its best to bring Gor Mahia on board to sort out the differences but its (Gor Mahia's) officials defied the summons.

"They left us with no option. This matter would have been sorted long time ago."

He blamed Gor officials whom he said "were dishonest to the team members, fans and players."

"I am very bitter that we are losing a competitive club like Gor but the blame squarely lies on its officials who are dishonest and took a wrong position on the whole matter.

"But all is not lost, there is still room to negotiate."

Omondi's comments appeared to differ with those of KPL managing director Jack Oguda who said last weekend's decision to kick out Gor out of the league was final.

"Gor will not be included in the fixtures. There is no match for them to honour because they are no longer playing in a KPL organised league," said Oguda.

In a letter to the Kenya Football Federation chairman Alfred Sambu on Tuesday, Gor chairman Erastus Okul had said that they only recognised rules set by KFF and were willing to take to the field if the matches are arranged within KFF rules and statutes.

"We recognise our affiliation to KFF and the provisions of the statutes and would like KFF to come in and make a final decision in the dispute between KPL and Gor Mahia because as for now we do not understand the role and status of KPL in these issues," said Okul.

"We believe that KPL have no judicial mandate whatsoever to adjudicate and/or take any disciplinary action against any team with regard to football.

"In our humble view, judicial and disciplinary action is a preserve of the KFF under Fifa statutes and cannot be delegated to an amorphous limited liability company (like KPL) which at best seeks to usurp the role of KFF in this country."

And yesterday, AFC Leopards chairman Wafula wa Musamia called for the dissolution of KPL saying it was out to kill football rather than develop it.

"I support Gor Mahia. KPL has no mandate to suspend or relegate a club, it is the responsibility of KFF," he said.

AFC Leopards' secretary Dan Muhangani and organising secretary Collins Masibo asked KPL to soften its stance on Gor Mahia and include the club in the fixtures.

"Gor has accepted to play and KPL should now soften up and welcome them back to the league," they said.

Premier League club World Hope secretary Peter Jabuya, who also served in the same capacity at Gor Mahia, accused Gor officials of misleading the club.

"Some individuals at the club are making decisions without consulting members. This is what has led to this stand off with KPL. But KPL should also not rush to kicking out a club like Gor."

Kangemi United chairman Simon Mugo sympathised with Gor's relegation saying it was spelling doom for the community clubs in the country.

Shabana's Khan said in Kisii that Gor "ought to have been shown the yellow card but not the red."

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