Kenya: Defiant KPL Plan for League Resumption

The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) management has continued to defy Football Kenya Federation (FKF)'s order to end the 2019/20 season and have now hinted at making plans for resumption.

FKF President Nick Mwendwa had, in a series of tweets, declared the season over in May and declared Gor Mahia KPL champions. This was due to the coronavirus pandemic that had grounded sports activities to a halt all over the world.

However KPL insists they are the body mandated to run the league as per the agreement with FKF and therefore any decision touching on the league should be made by them. The league management body has now announced plans are underway for the 2019/20 season to resume.

"The Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Amb. Amina Mohamed, recently confirmed that the Government has set up a team to prepare for the resumption of sporting activities in the country once the Covid-19 situation has been managed. This is a sign that football in general is set to resume to normalcy in the near future. In view of that, KPL wishes to confirm that a KPL Governing Council meeting will be convened next week depending on the new measures that the Government will announce to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic following the lapse of the 21-day nationwide curfew and cessation of movements in certain counties and local administrative areas on Saturday, June 06, 2020," a statement by KPL sent to newsrooms on Thursday read in part.

"In the meeting, the KPL Governing Council will deliberate on the Government's blueprint to reopening the economy and its effect on football activities. For avoidance of doubt, no decision has been made regarding the fate of the KPL 2019/20 season. It should be emphasized that it is only the KPL Governing Council that has the power to make such a decision. In that meeting, the KPL Governing Council will discuss and decide on the fate of the KPL 2019/20 season. The provisional agenda for the meeting will be circulated when convening the meeting after consultation with the KPL chairman," it added.

World football governing body Fifa recently released a roadmap on how ideally footballing activities should resume in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and KPL has circulated the same to all clubs urging them to familiarise with the suggestions, a clear indication that KPL is focused on resuming the season.

"KPL advises clubs to familiarize themselves with the attached FIFA guidelines on dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on football activities and their recommended roadmap to resuming football activities. We shall also be guided by the Government's guidelines on resumption of sporting activities. KPL has always been guided by the rule of law and will continue to maintain this path," the statement adds.

Part of the recommendations by Fifa on leagues resumption include medical considerations as advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), ensuring social distancing as teams travel for matches.

In some leagues where football has already resumed like the Bundesliga, players are expected to change kits at halftime and they should not shake hands before, during and after the match.

These are some of the considerations the KPL Governing Council is expected to discuss even as FKF continues to emphasize that all the leagues in Kenya have ended and teams should start preparing for next season once the government eases up restrictions.

KPL's mandate to run the league expires in September and FKF President Nick Mwendwa has made it clear the contract will not be renewed.

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