All for nothing
Tuesday’s decision by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) to render the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Transition Committee Premier League null and void, has elicited mixed reactions from several football stakeholders.
The ruling in short, means that Tusker who had won their 15th league title, has the feat cancelled and that there will be no promotion and relegation for the season that ended almost two months ago.
As a result, relegated Mathare United FC and Vihiga Bullets FC will retain their place in the Premier League while promoted National Super League (NSL) sides APS Bomet FC and Fortune Sacco FC will head back to the second tier.
Even as the teams were coming to terms with the far reaching judgment, club officials are now laying blame squarely at the Ministry of Sports over its interference with football in the country that led to the current situation.
Kariobangi Sharks chairman Robert Maoga while lauding the move by the SDT warned that football turmoil in the country will persist if only the Football Kenya Federation-Transition Committee that was again gazetted on August 15 to extend their mandate for another two months, continued running the sport, contrary to FIFA demands. Maoga called for sobriety moving forward so that order can be restored.
“We are saddened by what is happening and as stakeholders we have to be worried. Now players are going to suffer because based on the ruling,it is not clear when leagues will resume and who exactly will be running the game. There are rules of football that have to be followed and the fact that the Sports Ministry chose to ignore them has led us to this mess,” he told People Sport.He added: “The SDT as a Judicial body did its work with evidence produced and it cannot be blamed. The Caretaker and by extension the Transition Committee which has abused their mandate are the key orchestrator of the problems we have today. The league that concluded was shambles and with no direction with problems like match fixing being rife.
All looks like a waste
This has to be the best decision even if many people will feel aggrieved. I sympathize with players who have put in effort and sponsors who have spent money because it all looks like a waste.”
Mathare United’s boss Bob Munro in a short message lauded the ruling by the SDT, saying the Transition Committee was very incompetent and lacked the mandate to run the sport. Sofapaka FC CEO Jimmy Ambajo also praised the SDT for being bold and decisive in its findings and rulings urging the incoming Government to fix the mess once and for all.
“The SDT are obviously within their right to proclaim decisions of sporting and public interest. We needed to see the Ministry of Sport bringing on board a Normalization Committee but now the crisis is clear. My beef is this happened despite FIFA warning and so we are in a situation whereby we are in a hole.
The other concern which is disturbing is the fact that the Caretaker Committee keeps getting illegal extensions which is frustrating. For us,we can only watch and see because the earlier we get back to order the better because obviously we need urgent solutions as a football family,” Ombajo said.
Elsewhere, Kakamega Homeboyz FC Founder Cleophas Shimanyula has decried the confusion emanating in Kenyan football calling for greater responsibility.
“Surely we have wasted a lot of time and now we have to drag football to courts and so here we are. This issue is demoralizing everyone and particularly sponsors and investors feel jittery already. Clubs and particularly players are feeling the heat because for example Tusker FC cannot play in CAF competitions. It is all confusing right now and we do not know what the future holds but to a greater extent the Government through the Ministry of Sports has to own up and clean the mess. The Caretaker Committee does not even adhere to the Constitution of FKF and so it is difficult to know who will run the forthcoming league despite teams already being in pre-season training.”
Posta Rangers Chairman John Tonui has on his part labeled the ruling as shocking. He has further accused the FKF-Caretaker Committee of ruining football. “The truth is the league managers as it stands have no agenda for the game and as such they have put livelihoods at risk. The Government needs to do better because people will suffer a lot. Yes,the SDT is right as the Arbiter to make the decisions but also on the other hand courts should not entirely be deciding football matters because we might end up in bigger problems. The Office of the Sports Cabinet Secretary should have deployed the right personnel to run soccer. For now clubs are wasting minimal resources preparing for a league that we are not even sure will take place,”he said. Tonui was backed by Nzoia Sugar FC Chairman Evans Kadenge who blasted the Caretaker Committee for not adding value to football growth in the country calling for their dissolution.