Sobriety, not arrogance, needed to resolve FKF crisis

Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 02:00 | By
FKF PL logo. PHOTO/FKF/(@Football_Kenya)/X
FKF PL logo. PHOTO/FKF/(@Football_Kenya)/X

A court case that stopped the Football Kenya Federation’s (FKF) planned March 16 Annual General Meeting has thrown Kenyan football into shaky ground in the last three months.

The AGM was meant to prepare for elections that were to be held later in the year.

But as it stands, with no solution forthcoming, our football is on the edge and Kenya risks drawing sanctions from the world soccer governing body FIFA.

FIFA has thrown around its weight by issuing a directive to FKF that urged the immediate holding of its annual meeting as a precursor to the planned elections.

The global football authority did not mince words in warning about potential sanctions, including a suspension that could isolate FKF from international football activities.

FIFA’s letter sent a clear message about the governing body’s intolerance for legal interventions in football affairs, and sets the stage for a potential standoff between international football regulations and national legal systems.

The heart of the dispute was a decision by the Sports Disputes Tribunal last July that found that FKF National Executive Committee members had been rightfully removed from their positions, questioning their authority to conduct federation business.

While we must all agree that FKF has run down Kenyan football and failed to operate within its own statutes by going three years without holding an AGM, this is the time we must all reason together to save the country from another international suspension.

FIFA may soon lose its patience with us and take action. That action will mean Kenya losing the hosting rights for Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) this year and the Africa Cup of Nations in 2027. It will also mean the Harambee Starlets Under 17 who are just 90 minutes away from a ticket to the world cup will be tossed out.

The repercussions are dire on our football, which is still recovering from a previous suspension

I disagree with FIFA’s advise to the federation to proceed with the suspended AGM despite a court order that put on hold the crucial delegates meeting. The FIFA directive is likely to put FKF in an awkward situation regarding whether to follow the laws of the land or be guided by the world governing body directives.

We need sobriety and patriotism now and not chest-thumping. The onus is now on the government, FIFA and stakeholders to come together to save the game.

My position is that the parties in the court case should withdraw the matter and agree to the formation of a committee with the backing of FIFA and the government. This committee, to comprise of 50-50 representation from the federation and stakeholders, will then chart the path towards fresh, free, and transparent federation elections. This includes setting a fresh election time table and appointing a new electoral board that is acceptable to all parties.

I have always been a stickler for the rule of law. This is why when I served as FKF secretary general and later as president, no football matter was taken to court and my terms ended smoothly.

It is time for the current FKF, led by Nick Mwendwa, to accept that they have served their term and exit office without placing Kenya on the edge. They must realize that football belongs to all Kenyans and not a cartel that has been operating at Kandanda House. Either he accepts the will of stakeholders or history will judge him harshly.

—The writer is Football Kenya Federation’s President Emeritus

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