Mathare United respond after FKF-PL relegation

Mathare United players celebrate

From left: Mathare United players Daniel Otieno, Danson Kago and Eugene Wethuli celebrate a goal during their Football Kenya Federation Premier League match against FC Talanta at Ruaraka grounds in Nairobi on January 5, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Mathare United Chairman Bob Munro said they would have not faced the axe had the Caretaker Committee disbursed Sh900,000 before their match against Sofapaka on May 6, which they failed to honour to due to lack of funds.
  • "On May 10, four days before our scheduled match with Sofapaka and before its mandate ended,  the FKF Caretaker Committee finally paid its long overdue monthly grant arrears of Sh900,000," said Munro.

Mathare United have now questioned whether the recently constituted Football Kenya Federation Transition Committee has the legal powers to relegate them from the Premier League.

The 2008 Kenyan champions were officially demoted from the league by the transition body on Friday.

“Is it right and fair in fact and even in law for the FKF Transition Committee to suspend and relegate Mathare United or any other team because its predecessor FKF Caretaker Committee in which you served failed to pay its monthly grants to clubs in a responsible, related and timely manner?” Mathare United chairman Bob Munro queried in a letter to the Transition Committee head of secretariat Lindah Oguttu Tuesday.

Munro said they would not have faced the axe had the FKF Caretaker Committee disbursed Sh900,000 before their match against Sofapaka on May 6 which they failed to honour to due to lack of funds.

"On May 10, four days before our scheduled match with Sofapaka and before its mandate ended, the FKF Caretaker Committee finally paid its long overdue monthly grant arrears of Sh900,000," said Munro.

"In sum, if FKF Caretaker Committe had paid its grants arrears four days earlier, those funds were sufficient to avoid forfeiting our third match plus cover the cost of our remaining five matches," said Munro.

Premier League matches were entitled to monthly grants from the FKF before it was disbanded by the government.

The federation got the funds from the then league title sponsor, betting firm BetKing and broadcast right holder, pay television station StarTimes.

Munro stated that the Caretaker Committee pledged to offer “logistic support” to the clubs of Sh300,000 every month but long delayed in disbursing the funds for the months of February, March and April exacerbating their financial situation.

“Moreover, if the FKF CC had paid its overdue grant arrears before April 23rd, our club could have avoided forfeiting any matches and instead been able to cover all the costs of our then eight remaining matches,” said Munro.

However, the Football Kenya Federation rules states that lack of finance can’t be used as a defence by a team for failing to play thrice in the league.

“Any club in a league format that doesn’t turn up for three fixtures in a season and their explanation under Rule 3.1.7 is not accepted in all the three incidences to the FKF National Leagues and Competition Committee, shall be suspended for the rest of the season, shall be relegated to a lower league for the next season and may face other disciplinary action,” states the federation’s Rules and Regulation under the chapter Match Organisation; Fixtures Management and Fulfilment.

Experienced football administrator Lordvick Aduda said the situation Mathare United finds itself in can only be sorted out by stakeholders meeting and finding a way forward over what he termed as “confusion in the management of our football”.

“Even if they were to lodge a complaint currently there are no organs in the Transition Committee to listen to them. The committee itself is not lawfully constituted and cannot relegate a team. The confusion in the football currently has no solution to most problems cropping up,” said Aduda.

Sports lawyer Elvis Majani said the transition committee is illegally in office and has no powers to relegate a team.

“On what basis are they relegating Mathare United? Were they given a chance to be heard and explain themselves? Are there such organs in the transition committee?

“If there are no answers to this question then Mathare United cannot be relegated,” said Majani.

Mathare were promoted to the top tier league in 1999 and won the country’s most coveted club competition in 2008.

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