Hail the champions! Gor Mahia to keep trophy as SDT dismisses petition

Sports Disputes Tribunal chairman John Ohaga addressing the media in Nairobi in the past.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • This ruling could mark an acrimonious end to a frosty relationship between KPL and the current FKF office, which stretches back four years.
  • It could also clear the path for Gor Mahia to represent the country in the Caf Champions league and also pave the way for the start of the 2020/2021 BetKing Premier League season under the supervision of FKF, following the expiry of KPL's mandate to manage the league on behalf of the federation.

The Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) Tuesday dismissed a petition by the Kenya Premier League (KPL) body challenging a decision by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to prematurely end the 2019/2020 top-flight season and declare Gor Mahia Champions.

In his 30-minute ruling, SDT chairman John Ohaga explained among other factors, that KPL Chief Executive Officer, Jack Oguda, did not exhaust all international conflict resolution mechanisms before dragging FKF to the Tribunal.

Ohaga also ruled that Oguda, who was the petitioner, filed this case without authority from Kenyan Premier League clubs.

"The interested parties in this case explained that no valid resolution had been made by KPL's Governing Council for the filing of the petition. The conclusion thus is that the petitioner filed this case without proper authority from the shareholders and it (the petition) is therefore invalid," ruled Ohaga via zoom.

The Tribunal also determined the coronavirus pandemic, whose outbreak in the country led to the termination of the league, was an act of force majure (a legal term implying unforeseen circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract).

Ohaga also ruled that FKF president Nick Mwendwa erred in announcing the end of the league season, as he did not have the necessary powers owing to the unavailability of his National Executive Committee (NEC),  whose term of office expired in February.

"We have averted to our previous ruling where we said that the FKF president is not synonymous with his NEC and for that reason it is our view that the president had no authority to make the determination that the league is at an end and declare Gor Mahia champions. The (KPL) Governing Council can make that decision. At present the (FKF) president is a king without a crown."

Under this backdrop Mwendwa announced on April 30, via his Twitter account, that all football competitions in the country, including the top-flight league, had been cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Tribunal also dismissed an application by Oguda seeking compensation for losses supposedly incurred after the league season was prematurely ended.

This ruling could mark an acrimonious end to a frosty relationship between KPL and the current FKF office, which stretches back four years.

It could also clear the path for Gor Mahia to represent the country in the Caf Champions league and also pave the way for the start of the 2020/2021 BetKing Premier League season under the supervision of FKF, following the expiry of KPL's mandate to manage the league on behalf of the federation.