Resolve feuds over soccer management
Once again, the country’s soccer is at a crossroads. The Sports Dispute Tribunal’s ruling, declaring the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Football Kenya Federation illegal takes the country back to square one in so far as running game is concerned.
Without NEC, as is the case following the Tribunal’s resolution, the ongoing soccer league cannot run. This is because FKF rules stipulate that it is the NEC that runs the league, now in its third week, on a day-to-day basis.
Without the NEC in place, therefore, no league can run. In its ruling regarding the fate of last season’s leagues, the tribunal stated that Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba breached the law by reinstating NEC, meaning that the league is in itself, illegal since it is being run by an illegal entity.
Established under section 55 of the Sports Act, the Tribunal has jurisdiction over any appeals lodged against decisions made by national sports organisations or umbrella national sports organisations, whose rules specifically allow for such appeals to be lodged with the tribunal.
Simply put, the tribunal is like a court, in so far as sports disputes are concerned, and its decisions are binding. Namwamba has since pronounced himself on the tribunal’s decision, saying he will not be distracted by the ruling as he goes about reforming the sports sector.
As expected, FKF has also remained defiant, affirming that the league matches scheduled for this weekend will go on as planned, notwithstanding the tribunal’s verdict. FKF is basing its decision on the absence of a written notification from the tribunal. It argues that in the event of any cancellation of fixtures, the affected clubs must be notified at least 72 hours prior to a match.
As the two warring entities, FKF and the Sports CS on one hand, and the tribunal on the other, flex their muscles, the country’s soccer remains the loser, with little or no prospects of our national soccer teams featuring in any FIFA-sanctioned tournaments for so long as the disputes rage.
If only the two sides could discard their hardened positions and explore ways of resolving the dispute without hurting soccer instead of hardening their positions! In any case, the law establishing the tribunal provides that it may, in determining disputes, apply alternative dispute resolution methods and provide expertise and assistance regarding the resolution of such disputes to the parties involved. It is not too late to explore this option to provide a clear way forward for Kenyan football.