FIFA relegates Zoo FC
Kericho based side Zoo Football Club has been relegated by FIFA to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Division 1 level. FIFA through its disciplinary committee settled on the decision after the club was found to be culpable of match-fixing allegations.
In April 2021, Zoo FC was axed away from the top tier league (FKFPL) following match manipulation/fixing allegations and they later on featured in the second tier (NSL) during the ongoing 2021/22 season however FIFA says it was through a misinterpretation of the ruling.
"The decision to sanction Zoo FC is related to a series of (KPL) matches deemed to have been manipulated between 2018 and 2020 by individuals belonging to the club, as a consequence of which the club has been held responsible for the behavior of its members," said FIFA.
Making matters worse, the Kericho based club has also been further slapped with a fine worth Ksh 6M payable in 30 days. Now failure to pay the fine to FIFA within the stipulated time, the club will be locked out to participate from any competitions both locally and internationally.
"Zoo FC are granted a final deadline of 30 days as from notification of the present decision in which to comply in full with its obligations under the above-mentioned Fifa decisions," read a letter signed by Anin Yeboah, the deputy chairperson of FIFA's disciplinary committee.
"In particular, the order of relegation of the first team of Zoo FC to the FKF Division One for the next season, shall be implemented prior to the start of the season 2022/2023. Should the first team of Zoo FC not have been relegated to the FKF Division One upon the initiation of the 2022/2023 season, Zoo FC shall be automatically expelled from all national and international competition."
Zoo FC had recently withdrawn from the FKF transition committee led league questioning its validity in what now seems quite ironical.
"As a club, we have been victims of match manipulation, poor officiating, unfair/delayed findings on our match day protests," stated the club.
"We thus deem our continued participation in an already contaminated league at the expense of our unresolved grievances as a waste of time and our hard-earned meager resources in the absence of sponsorship."
"For obvious reasons, neither the government nor the FKFTC has the power to deal with this vice, which regrettably has reared its ugly head in each and every team in the FKFTC managed leagues," explained Zoo FC.
"Not even our continued participation can sanitise the charade. It absurdly remains senseless to agitate for the slightest of order without the consonance of other relevant stakeholders, football clubs being the key note. It’s one fight we cannot win by ourselves."
Its now a race against time for Zoo FC as they try to salvage their situation and get back too FIFA's good books.