PtG Article 20.11.2006

Kenya Premier League continues to fight for corruption-free football

In Kenya, the Kenya Premier League has reconfirmed its commitment to ensure corruption-free football and continue its league matches. It happens in the face of continued political pressure on the clubs and the attempt to establish another football league under the auspices of the caretaker committee that has replaced the Kenya Football Federation.

According to the newspaper The Nation, the caretaker committee has held a meeting with fourteen clubs to set up a Premier League that will begin its season at the end of November. However, many of the clubs from the Kenya Premier League did not attend that meeting but instead announced their decision to continue playing in their own league.

Kenya’s sports commissioner Gordon Oluoch has warned the Kenya Premier League of dire consequences if they dare stage their own matches. It does not deter the clubs in the Kenya Premier League but political pressure is mounting.

One source has told Play the Game that the government has been applying pressure on football teams from the armed forces clubs and parastatal companies where the managing directors are vulnerable as the government has a significant influence on the renewal or termination of contracts.

The government is also applying pressure on individuals such as Bob Munro, chairman of Mathare United, Philip Omondi, chairman of the Kenya Premier League and Mohamed Hatimy, Senior Vice Chairman of the dissolved Kenya Football Federation.

Questionable if the government can dissolve KFF

Meanwhile it is still unclear whether Kenya’s sports minister has the competence required to dissolve the Kenya Football Federation.

FIFA’s presidential delegate, Jerome Champagne, has written to the KFF saying that the decision to dissolve KFF and set up a caretaker committee is in violation of FIFA statutes on the independence of election. Champagne has also asked for a legal opinion on the legality of the dissolution.

The Kenya Premier League believes that the dissolution not only violates FIFA statutes but also the KFF Constitution, the Kenya National Sports Council Constitution, the Societies Act of Kenya and the Cairo Agreements.

In a press statement, the Kenya Premier League states that it believes that a few top officials in government and relegated clubs are responsible for the current chaos.

“It has involved such shameless tactics as repeatedly breaking their agreements, verbally and physically threatening other clubs and their officials, rigging meetings, closing stadia, fraudulently trying to change our company name, using rent-a-crowds in bogus street demonstrations and applying political and other coercive measures on the management of institutional clubs. Our clubs strongly deny such unfair and dirty tactics and will no longer be associated with those who use them,” the statement reads.