Implications of Fifa sanctions

Saturday, February 26th, 2022 02:11 | By
Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura (right) with FKF president Nick Mwendwa (centre) who stepped aside from the position and her handlers when she visited Kenya last year. PHOTO/RODGERS NDEGWA

A layman saw it coming fast and furious following the acrimony between the Kenyan sports ministry and the beleaguered Football Kenya Federation (FKF).

Kenyan football has been thrown in a deep pit after world governing body Fifa indefinitely suspended the country over what it described as undue interference of the sport by the government which is against its statutes.

FKF has been suspended in accordance with article 16 of the FIFA Statutes until further notice.

Consequently, as of 24 February 2022, the FKF loses all its membership rights, as defined in article 13.

With Kenyans having yet to come to terms with the reality of the sanction, they may be totally surprised to learn what the indefinite banishment means to the country.

First and foremost, all our national teams and clubs can’t participate in CAF/FIFA competitions thus making nonsense of the 2021/22 Kenyan Premier League and indeed all other future domestic competitions as long as the suppression remains.

Already, the national under 17 team has been bundled out of the African qualifiers for the Fifa Under 17 Women World Cup in India later this year. “Kindly be informed that due to the suspension of FKF by Fifa, Kenya U17 Women’s team is disqualified from the African qualifiers of Fifa U17 WWC in India 2022. Consequently, matches 19 and 20 are cancelled as well as the missions of all designated officials,” read a communique from Fifa.

To this end, the action also means the caretaker committee that was enacted last November by the government with the endorsement of Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed will not be recognized by both CAF and Fifa, neither is the promotion of any club.

All the clubs, including women’s, will also feel the punch of having zero funds in their coffers since Fifa has withdrawn grants it usually doles out to the federation towards their support. In a terse statement, Fifa President Gianni Infantino has also stated that the sanctions will likely only change under a Normalization committee under the aegis of the world football governing body. The unprecedented decision by Fifa is bound to trigger a case of musical chairs between the two antagonists (FKF and Sports Ministry, even as the world body maintains that it shall not tolerate cases of governments’ meddling with the affairs of their affiliates.

The matter was clarified in a letter which CAF secretary Fatma Samura addressed to Football Kenya CEO-cum secretary Barry Otieno had sent to Fifa detailing on how the federation was not viable to enter the national women team, Harambee Starlets in the Africa Women Championship qualifiers due to the dissolution by the government courtesy of  Amina Mohammed.

The letter said Fifa Council was informed of what had transpired in the Kenyan game and with Sports Registry having played a part in consultation with the ministry, this was what precipitated the decision.

“On 11 November 2021, the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage of Kenya (hereafter: “the Cabinet Secretary”) decided to appoint a “caretaker committee” in lieu of the elected Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Executive Committee, as a result of several inspections of the FKF by the Registrar of Sports prompted by “an extended deterioration of the state of football management in Kenya”, read part of the letter.

Fifa was also irked by the action of arresting FKF President Nick Mwendwa being arrested by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation being taken into custody.

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