What you need to know:
- Former stars ‘represent the interests of players and fans’ in court battle.
Former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) officials Sammy Shollei and Dan Shikanda have been enjoined in a case involving the national football governing body and the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Limited.
FKF and KPL are locked in a court battle over the structure and composition of the 2015 top-flight competition.
Lady Justice Roselyn Aburili on Friday ruled that Mr Shollei and Mr Shikanda had sufficiently persuaded the court as to why they are necessary parties in the case, especially given that they come in to represent the interests of players and fans, which was missing in the case.
FKF through lawyer Eric Mutua opposed their invitation, saying they had been suspended from participating in football activities for six years beginning July, 2012 and allowing them to participate amounts to assisting them violate the ban.
Lady Justice Aburili however ruled against the argument noting that it would be near impossible to ban a football fan.
“You may ban him from accessing closed areas where football is being played, but he will still remain a fan in his own house,” said Justice Aburili.
INTERESTS OF PLAYERS AND FANS
Mr Shollei and Mr Shikanda had pleaded with the court to enjoin them saying they have been in football management for long and have knowledge which can be useful to the case.
Further, that they have continued to nurture talent at the grassroots level.
The judge said that it had not been shown that the two are mere busybodies whose intention is to derail or delay the expeditious determination of the case.
They had also lodged their application for enjoinment in a timely manner upon learning of the existence of the suit.
“My examination of the case filed by FKF does not reveal any reference to the interests of players or fans of football in Kenya. The first time I have heard those terms is when Mr Shollei and Mr Shikanda filed their application seeking to be enjoined, saying they are seasoned former players who are now mentoring and nurturing young talent,” said the judge.
She observed that it was not in doubt that FKF, KPL, Kenya Football Referees Association (KFRA) and Sports Kenya, who are the main parties in the case, are either organisers, umbrella bodies, associations for the welfare of referees or those responsible for managing sports facilities in the country.
“In my mind, players, fans, managers and organisers, referees and others, all make football, they all have an identifiable stake and legal or equitable interest in football and therefore in this case, they should not be prevented from ventilating their grievance,” Justice Aburili said.
She said the court was persuaded by Mr Shollei and Mr Shikanda’s submissions that players and fans are a crucial component and key stakeholders in the football industry and cannot thus be wished away just because the organisers and managers are disputing.
“The only way their voices can be heard is by allowing them to be enjoined in these proceedings, for them to be governed by the rule of the law as opposed to the popular rule of the jungle,” said the judge.
Focus now shifts to Friday next week when the court will deliver a ruling on whether certain KPL officials are in contempt of a court order issued on February 20, which stopped KPL Ltd from organising league matches.
The said order is currently in force.
FKF through lawyer Mutua alleged there was a violation of the court order after KPL proceeded to organise seven games.
FKF wants the court to commit them to civil jail for a term of six months.