Gor, AFC want independent body to run Premier League

From left: Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier, Betsafe Ag. CEO Alex Kobia and AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda during the launch of Betsafe in the Kenyan market on December 2, 2020 in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Rachier also called for change in the kick-off times of matches said. Shikanda further called for impartiality in the allocation of training and match venues.
  • He questioned how Kenya Police were getting easy access to Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani while other clubs have always found it difficult in securing the venues for their matches.

Kenya’s leading community-based clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards want the top flight Premier League to be run by an independent body, saying it will return “cohesion” in the competition.

At the same time, the two clubs together with Posta Rangers want the government through the National Sports Fund to support the teams financially, until when a sponsorship of the league will be secured.

The running of the 18-team league will be under the Justice (retired) Aaron Ringera’s led 15- member Caretaker Committee that suspended competition for two weeks.

The caretaker committee was constituted by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed last Thursday after disbanding Football Kenya Federation (FKF).

The embattled FKF president Nick Mwendwa was arrested last Friday and arraigned in court on Monday over corruption allegations.

Mwendwa got temporary freedom after Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Wandia Nyamu granted him a bond of Sh7 million, with two sureties or alternatively deposit a cash bail of Sh4 million with two contact persons.

The court will Wednesday give a detailed ruling on the prosecution’s application to detain Mwendwa for 14 days.

Fifa through its Secretary General Fatma Samoura have demanded the reinstatement of the FKF officials or the country will risk an international ban.

Samoura called for a meeting between the Sports Ministry, the federation Fifa to normalise the situation.

Even as the FKF Caretaker Committee settled into the business of running football in the country, the chairmen of Gor Mahia Ambrose Rachier, AFC Leopards , Dan Shikanda and Posta Rangers and John Tonui said on Tuesday that there was need for an independent body to manage the league like it was before under the Kenya Premier League (KPL).

They said clubs were voiceless during the period that the league was being run by FKF, thus the tension in the competition

“The caretaker committee should consider outsourcing a body to run the league professionally, so that clubs can have a way of participating in decision making. Under FKF, no voice was heard thus the strained relationship,” said Rachier.

Said Shikanda: “We can take the KPL model which was working very well. A committee made by the club’s chairmen should be the one running the league and it should include the referees’ body. It will help bring to an end poor officiating which is a big problem in the league.”

Posta’s Tonui said : “We want an independent league run by an independent body like the way KPL was doing. The league should be devoid of any interference from FKF even though we align with their structures.”

He asked the caretaker committee to ensure the league resumed within two weeks as promised, so that Kenya did not lag behind in aligning with the international calendar.

Gor and Leopards have clashed with the Mwendwa administration on several occasions.

The strained relationship played out acutely in July when the two clubs boycotted the “Mashemeji” derby over Betway Cup prize monies they were owed by the federation.

Mwendwa responded by fining the two clubs a total of Sh10 million while docking them three points each.

Rachier and Shikanda were also banned from engaging in any FKF related activity.

“How the league was decided last season and in 2020 was not good. This is the time to put in place proper laws to govern our football,” said Shikanda.

He noted that clubs were struggling financially due to lack of a league sponsor, hence the government should come to their rescue through the National Sports Fund.

“There is money in the Sports Fund. The caretaker committee should come up with a budget and give clubs money. They can pay part of the players’ salaries too," suggested the Leopards chairman.

“The committee) should look for an independent source of funds to run the league as we look for sponsors. Sports teams should not continue suffering yet there is money in the Sports Fund,” added Rachier.

The Premier League has not had a sponsor since August when Betking terminated their opaque five-year deal worth Sh1.2 billion.

Rachier also called for change in the kick-off times of matches said. Shikanda further called for impartiality in the allocation of training and match venues.

He questioned how Kenya Police were getting easy access to Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani while other clubs have always found it difficult in securing the venues for their matches.

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