Defiant KPL vow to finish season by July amid FKF row


Defiant KPL vow to finish season by July amid FKF row
FKF President Nick Mwendwa with KPL CEO Jack Oguda in a past briefing. (PHOTO/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha)

In Summary

  • That optimistic timeframe was revealed in a defiant response to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) who announced on Thursday it had ended the season and awarded the title to current league leaders, Gor Mahia FC.
  • Gor, who held a seven-point lead, are due to represent the country in the 2020/21 CAF Champions League competition, according to FKF who also promoted Nairobi City Stars to the top flight.

The Kenyan Premier League Ltd has said it is determined to finish the season in a conclusive manner by playing all the remaining games in the top flight by July 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shut global sport.

That optimistic timeframe was revealed in a defiant response to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) who announced on Thursday it had ended the season and awarded the title to current league leaders, Gor Mahia FC.

The letter sent to the FKF chief Barry Otieno on Friday was the third statement issued by the KPL in under 24 hours after the federation’s proposition that handed Gor their fourth title in a row.

Gor, who held a seven-point lead, are due to represent the country in the 2020/21 CAF Champions League competition, according to FKF who also promoted Nairobi City Stars to the top flight.

“The FKF­-KPL Agreement is clear on the obligations of KPL and FKF in as far as management of the Kenyan Premier League is concerned and, therefore, KPL would like clarification on which organ within FKF’s structure met, deliberated, and made a decision regarding the status of the league.

“The Government’s decision to extend countrywide curfew and isolation of the Nairobi Metropolitan Region and Mombasa County by 21 days, which expires on May 17, does not provide adequate reason to trigger kneejerk reactions like ending the league without first exploring other avenues which would give teams a sporting chance,” KPL said in a letter signed by Jack Oguda, the Chief Executive Officer.

FKF President Nick Mwendwa made reference to a clause in the KPL statute which specifies that if the season is cancelled due to force majeure, the leaders after 17 rounds, or the halfway mark of the campaign, will be crowned champions.

‘Malice’

Further, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) wrote to member associations this week to set a May 5 deadline to decide whether they intend to continue with their domestic season or call a premature end to the campaign.

“FKF’s decision to end the league on the plain pretext that CAF asked for information regarding strategies put in place to ensure conclusion of the KPL 2019-­20 season reeks of malice. Would FKF have made that decision if CAF had not sought clarity?” Oguda posed.

KPL emphasized that it accords ‘high priority’ to the health, safety, and welfare of players, officials, and supporters and is in support of the Government’s effort to contain the COVID-­19 pandemic.

“It is on this background that KPL prepared itself to have matches resume after the Government has given a favourable review on the status of public gatherings. Once the Government has lifted the ban on public gatherings, a decision to resume matches would also have been reinforced by a Governing Council decision on the best and most practical way to do so.”

On Tuesday, FIFA’s chief doctor Michel d’Hooghe warned against restarting the interrupted 2019-20 campaign and suggested governing bodies prepare for action next season instead.

French authorities announced later that day that the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons will not resume.

The Dutch top flight has already been abandoned with no promotion or relegation and no champions, while on Monday Belgian clubs postponed a vote on confirming the cancellation of their top flight until next week.

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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