Mwendwa suspends Gor, Leopards bosses, slaps clubs with Sh10 million fine
- Rachier, then serving as KPL Chairman had opposed the move to expand the league from 16 to 18 teams. Rachier also opposed the League's Broadcast deal, signed between the Federation and Chinese firm StarTimes.
- The stringent measures taken by the FKF chief will certainly open a can of worms in the next weeks.
FKF President Nick Mwendwa on Sunday opened a new battle frontier for the war-weary federation by provisionally suspending the chairmen of Kenyan’s most popular clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards over the fallout on Saturday’s Mashemeji derby snub.
Apart from suspending Ambrose Rachier of Gor and AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda, Mwendwa also announced at a press briefing held on Sunday in Nairobi that due to the snub of the Saturday league fixture, the two clubs have both been deducted three points while Gor have been fined Sh4 million and Leopards Sh6 million.
The two clubs on Friday threatened to snub the fixture demanding grants amounting to Sh3 million, with Gor claiming the lion’s share at Sh2 million by winning the FKF Cup. Ingwe were runners up and were to contend with Sh1 million.
It is these monies that formed the bone of contention, but there is no love lost between Rachier and Mwendwa moreso after the fight over the expansion and composition of the league.
Rachier, then serving as KPL Chairman had opposed the move to expand the league from 16 to 18 teams. Rachier also opposed the League’s Broadcast deal, signed between the Federation and Chinese firm StarTimes.
But according to Mwendwa, the Cup monies were only used as an excuse to skip the match, noting he had communicated in advance that there would be a delay in payment of the same.
“We had written a letter to both clubs on July 8 and communicated we will pay them their Cup money by August 5. Rules are clear, you cannot refuse to honour a league match because of Cup money, it’s a joke and lack of seriousness considering as the Cup and league are two different competitions,” Mwendwa told journalists at a press conference at a Nairobi hotel Sunday afternoon.
The federation boss explained Ingwe was to bear the bigger cost having been the host team for the boycotted derby, although there is still room to launch an appeal.
“The clubs have been deducted three points each effective immediately. Leopards were the home team, and as a result, they have been fined Sh6 million while Gor Mahia, who were the away team, have been fined Sh4 million. They can appeal the decision provided they follow the right channel,” Mwendwa averred.
“AFC Leopards had written to us on Friday, communicating change of venue (to Thika Stadium) then they failed to show up for the match,” added Mwendwa.
The FKF Leagues and Competitions Committee relied on rules and regulations laid out in chapter three on match organisation, which states, “in the event that a team or both teams in a scheduled fixture fails to turn up or turn(s) up for the match but refuse(s) to play, either team or both shall be docked three (3) points and two (2) goals from the already accumulated or those to be accumulated. Additional sanctions may be imposed on the team(s).”
Section 3.18 of the same says lack of money shall not be considered an acceptable reason by the FKF, for failure to honour a match.
And, the president suggested he is ready to crack the whip again, if the two clubs continued with their rebellious conduct.
“No club is bigger or better than another in the league. It is unfortunate we are having this kind of conduct from big clubs at a time we should be working together for the good of the game. We don’t have an option because if we allow this kind of behavior, we would be setting a very dangerous precedence,” he elucidated.
Responding to claims that he has personal issues with the leadership of the two clubs, Mwendwa defended his relationship with them citing instances the federation has bailed them out.
“Would you give national team’s kit to a club if you have anything against them…?” He was referring to Gor, who in November 2020 used Harambee Stars’ kit as they travelled to Rwanda in a continental interclub duty against hosts APR.
And there was stern warning according to the youthful Kenya’s FA chief, issued in an effort to persuade the club chairmen to change their minds.
“I personally texted the Chairman AFC Leopards asking him if he well understood the consequences of boycotting the match,” he revealed, though his call would change nothing.
FKF will now transact no business with Rachier and Shikanda unless they are cleared, but how the rest of the officials in the clubs react to the sanctions will matter.
The stringent measures taken by the FKF chief will certainly open a can of worms in the next weeks.
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