Kenya: FKF Vs KPL - Tribunal to Decide Fate of Football Season

15 September 2020

The Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) will Tuesday determine whether Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa had the authority to cancel the 2019/2020 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season, and to declare Gor Mahia the champions.

Tribunal chairman John Ohaga will deliver the ruling, four months after KPL's Chief Executive Jack Oguda, and Chemelil Sugar challenged Mwendwa's decision.

The ruling by Kenya's final arbitrator on sports disputes will also be delivered nine days before KPL's mandate to run the competition on behalf of FKF formally ends.

The federation is the middle of troubled elections that have been postponed twice and has been operating without its decision making bodies, the National Executive Committe and Governing Council.

Under this backdrop Mwendwa announced on April 30, via his Twitter account, that all football competitions in the country, including the top-flight league, had been cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

His directive came after the government banned social gatherings and also closed public sports facilities to fight the spread of the viral disease. Mwendwa further confirmed that second-tier Nairobi City Stars had earned promotion to the Premiership.

"The football regulations approved by the FKF Congress indicate if a league (matches) had been played up to 75 per cent, then the standings at the point (the league is stopped) will be used (to determine the champions)," he explained.

"All our leagues had not played 75 per cent of matches so clearly the standings we are going to go with are the ones that were in place at mid-season for all of our seven football tiers, not for KPL alone. That automatically means Gor Mahia are champions and we are forwarding their name to (the Confederation of African Football) Caf to compete in the Champions League next season."

But Oguda maintains Mwendwa erred in ending the league without consulting the KPL Governing Council, which is the league's top decision making organ.

The KPL Chief Executive also argues that Mwendwa, didn't have powers to end the league in April because the SDT had ruled two months earlier that FKF's National Executive Committee (NEC) term of office had ended.

The Tribunal two weeks ago declared that the FKF president was not synonymous with its NEC

KPL lawyer Amos Otieno also told the SDT that the league body had incurred losses, to the tune of millions of shillings, when the league was stopped.

Mwendwa has also announced the signing of a Sh1.2 billion league naming rights deal with beting firm BetKing.

As per the terms of this deal, the 18-clubs competing in the league will be given a Sh8 million grant and 20 balls each season.

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