Kenya football is stuck in a quagmire as KPL and FKF battle it out to determine which body will run football in Kenya. Essentially, the top clubs in Kenya are battling for the right to run their own league. Many of the media reports appear to be equating the two bodies and accusing them of wrangling.
As of March 5, 2015, it appears that the FKF is winning as they were able to somehow manage to get a court order to halt the Kenya Premier League. This, despite the fact that going to court contravenes FIFA statutes. The media is doing a huge disservice to the sport of football by equating KPL clubs with the FKF.
Some media outlets are even saying that the two sides are fighting over sponsorship money. This is very far from the truth. In reality it is FKF led by Sam Nyamweya and Robert Asembo who are eager to get their grubby hands on the money.
About half of the FKF teams are corporate teams which pour more money into football than they get back. Community teams like Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards are keen to stay in KPL because it is stable, well run and guarantees television revenue and sponsorship revenue, something that the FKF league does not have.
Others like Mathare United and Sofapaka have owners like Elly Kalekwa and Bob Munro, who own their teams wholesale, and have sunk their own hard-earned money into their respective teams, So if they do earn a profit, which is rarely the case, they deserve to keep it.
Meanwhile, Nyamweya, Asembo and FKF have contributed nothing to football but cannot wait to get their grubby hands on sponsorship money. Of all the supposedly warring parties, Nyamweya and FKF are the ones who clearly have ill motives.
Most of the KPL chairmen are not fighting to gain financially. The Kenya Premier League has been running smoothly since the clubs took over running it in 2003. It is not perfect but it creates a measure of stability that enables clubs to thrive. This element of stability was completely missing when the federation ran the league 10 years ago. And this was precisely why in 2003, FIFA proposed that the top league be run by the clubs.
The report generated by the Germany based FIFA consultant Nieman stated that among other things: Sam Nyamweya is dishonest; He pre-set the wrong facts after the federation boss attended a Joint Executive Meeting held on January 19, 2015 to solve all outstanding issues and enter into a mutual MOU only to write a contradictory note to Fifa’s General Secretary Jerome Valcke. The report suggested that all parties acknowledge KPL as the official body to run the Premier League in Kenya on behalf of FKF; FKF acted in poor faith by initially hiding the report from KPL and other parties; FKF has released dishonest statements such as indicating that Muhoroni Youth, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards agreed to play in the FKF-PL.
Now let’s look at the other facts: FKF claims they have a television sponsor ready and a title sponsor ready yet they have not identified them. So how is the public supposed to believe them?; FKF under Nyamweya has done a poor job of running national teams, be it the senior national team, the Under-23 team, women’s teams and so forth; Under Nyamweya, Kenya has been humiliated by teams like Burundi, Lesotho and so forth; FKF has alienated sponsors like Safaricom, most notably by demanding a 20 per cent cut of all sponsorship money; The 2013 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup hosted by FKF was shambolic and poorly run to the point that teams like Zanzibar vowed never to play in Kenya again; Sam Nyamweya ensured that FKF officials, who are interested in cleaning the game, such as Sammy Shollei and Dan Shikanda were suspended. He suspended them for opening a court case in contravention of FIFA statutes yet he himself has flouted this same statute by taking KPL to court; FIFA gives FKF approximately $250,000 (KES 23 million) each year yet it is never accounted for by FKF; FIFA even gave the FKF money to pay referees yet none of that money was given to referees.
Nyamweya and Asembo now have their eyes on the sponsorship money and broadcasting money that is generated by the Kenya Premier League.
And nothing Nyamweya touches succeeds. He has no record of success at anything. There have been virtually no positive developments in Kenya football since he took over. One of the few positive aspects of Kenya football over the last 10 years is the Kenya Premier League. And now Nyamweya and his ilk want to ruin that as well.
The only thing that Nyamweya and the increasingly arrogant Asembo have on their side are technicalities which are basically rules that FIFA and CAF have put in place that keep corrupt officials in office.
The media is doing football a disservice by equating KPL and FKF. This moral relativism is what causes judges like Msagha Mbogholi to ban KPL. There is no law in Kenya that bans clubs from running their own league. In the absence of such a law, the high court should be making rules based on what is good for the country as a whole. And it is better for Kenya, the youth and fans if KPL is allowed to run the league.
The point of this article is not to say that KPL is a well-run organization where everything is above board. The point is that the Kenya Premier League will be better off if run by the top clubs and not by Nyamweya and Asembo.