FKF ends season, declares Gor KPL champions

FKF ends season, declares Gor KPL champions
Gor Mahia FC team celebrates with trophy after winning the Kenyan Premier League season 2018-2019 at kenyatta stadium in Machakos on May 25, 2019. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha/Citizen

In Summary

  • Record time Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia have been declared the 2019/20 season champions, an announcement that puts an end to the campaign amid COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Nairobi City Stars, who until the suspension of the National Super League (NSL) were leading with 64 points, have been promoted to the KPL.

Record time Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia have been declared the 2019/20 season champions, an announcement that puts an end to the campaign amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss Nick Mwendwa confirmed the development through a tweet on his official Twitter handle, congratulating K’Ogalo for the title.

“…congratulations Gor Mahia! You are champions once again and you will represent Kenya on the champions league Next season. Lets do this,” posted Mwendwa.

At the same time, Nairobi City Stars, who until the suspension of the National Super League (NSL) were leading with 64 points, have been promoted to the KPL.

This means, they are also declared the champions of Kenya’s second tier league, having been 10 points ahead of Bidco United when the league was suspended.

“Nairobi city stars!! Welcome to the Premier League. Sasa changamkeni na ma signature moto moto (Now get ready by signing quality players),” another tweet read.

Gor Mahia topped the KPL table with 54 points, seven ahead of second placed Kakamega Homeboyz when the league was suspended after the COVID-19 outbreak. This was at round 23 of the league.

Mwendwa was to later clarify that this was in accordance with the FKF regulataions.

“We have football regulations that were approved by the FKF Congress which says, if a league had been played upo to 75 per cent, then the standings at the point that it is cut will be used. But if youy had not played 75 per cent of matches, the standings at the mid season will be used.

“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 the mid season for all of our seven football tiers, not for KPL alone. That means automatically Gor Mahia are champions and we are forwarding their name to CAF for the CAF Champions League next season…” told Mwendwa.

According to him, there is still room for the FKF Cup to be completed as it does not require much time as the KPL. Additionally, Mwendwa said there was a possibility of Kenya not presenting a a club in the next season’s CAF Confederation, if the domestic cup is not completed.

“We have no provision for that, so we cannot just make a decision lest we get into problems,” said Mwendwa.

New season schedule

However, the Kenyan Premier League Limited through the Chief Executive Officer  Jack Oguda, has deferred with FKF, saying they are yet to agree on how to end the league.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa (L) and Kenyan premier league C.E.O Jack Oguda address during a media briefing in Nairobi, Kenya on February16, 2016. Oguda confirmed Friday, March 4, 2016 the Gor vs Leopards derby is on. Photo/ Oliver Ananda/

In a letter addressed to the FKF General Secretary Barry Otieno, Oguda says the federation’s move is inconsistent and depicts “selective application of rules.”

“Reference is made to media reports in which you are quoted as stating that the 2019/20 season of the Kenyan Premier League will be cancelled and FKF rules will be used to determine the winner.  As per the letter from CAF to the Federation CAF made an enquiry about the current situation of your National League/National Cup [ranking, number of pending matches, etc.] as well as the strategies you intend to apply to finalize those competitions be it through completion or annulment this is in order for CAF to chart a way forward for it unfinished competitions for this season and to plan for the new season schedule,” read the introduction part of the letter.

Oguda continued, “We noted your alleged comments with great concern considering that it was also reported you allegedly stated that the domestic cup will be played to the end because, “all the teams in the FKF Bet Way Cup in the competitions have worked hard to reach where they are and it will be unfair to cancel the same,” as you were quoted.  The lack of consistency in the Federation’s stand on the fate the two competitions implies; a selective application of the rules by FKF, the selective interpretation by FKF of CAF’s letter to the Federation, disregard by FKF of the hard work put in by KPL teams to reach where they are in the current KPL 2019/20 standings, amounts to breach of the KPL mandate on running of the league through interfering with the management of its affairs,” underscored KPL Limited.

According to Oguda, the urgency to cancel the season was not well thought, saying it is still early to conclude the way forward.

“KPL wishes to state that it is strongly against annulling the league at this stage without first exploring other avenues which will see the season played to the end. The pandemic is not unique to just Kenya and, therefore, we see no urgency to have the league ended by May 15. We have been in contact with other leagues which are under the jurisdiction of CAF and none is contemplating annulling their league season for now. Further to that, these leagues and others in other parts of the world are not under pressure from their Federations and Confederations to end their season prematurely since even CAF is yet to complete in CAF competitions for this year. As you may be aware FIFA convened a meeting with the stakeholders this week to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the International Match Calendar which will directly affect CAF and the FAs.”

Oguda, in his letter further stated, ending the league can only be considered as a solution if there has been such a directive from CAF to all its members for the Leagues to end by a certain date.

“It is still too early to consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Kenyan football as case of force majeure. If in any case it were so, KPL would stand to be guided by Clause 9.1 of the FKF-KPL Agreement which provides direction on our obligations in such an evant. Since CAF has not concluded its own club competitions it therefore makes no sense at all to insinuate that CAF is rushing its members to end their seasons. Should such a directive come from CAF, KPL will exercise its mandate to give the way forward to FKF on the fate of the league after convening a Governing Council meeting.”

Sporting chance

Oguda noted the KPL Limited has a running contract with FKF, to manage the league thus cannot be swayed in such a decision.

“It is our insistence that if FKF plans to have the domestic cup played until the very end, it is only logical that KPL teams are also given a sporting chance to determine their final fate in as far as the battle for the championship and relegation survival goes because they have also been working hard up until the pandemic hit us.  The FKF-KPL Agreement mandates KPL the right to run the league until September 24, 2020. There is still sufficient time till then to have the league played to the end barring any directives from CAF or the Government of Kenya which can deny teams a sporting chance to determine their fate. KPL has confidence in the manner the Government of Kenya has contained the pandemic and we believe that if we wait for a few more weeks, to see if the Government will lift some of the restrictions which are preventing our league from resuming like the ban on gatherings and movement in and out of Nairobi and Mombasa.”

KPL Limited also cited clause 2 (a) of the FKF-KPL Agreement, which states, “to ensure KPL as the owner thereof has the exclusive, full and unhindered right to manage the Kenyan Premier League in accordance with the rules and regulations of KPL, FKF, CAF and FIFA”, as well as Clause 2 (d) of the same agreement which states, “to ensure there is no undue interference by FKF or other officials or third parties with KPL management of the Kenyan Premier League”, FKF is obligated to respect KPL’s mandate of running the Kenyan Premier League.

In the letter, Oguda also pointed out Clause 2 (g) of the same agreement refrains FKF from making media or public announcements and decisions on KPL’s behalf which infringe on the exclusive, full, and unhindered right of KPL to manage the Kenyan Premier League.

Gor Mahia are yet to react officially to the two stances, by FKF ans KPL.

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