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FIFA suspension, a setback to football in the country

By Mike Kihaki - February 26th 2022
Harambee Stars’ Captain Michael Olunga (left) exchanging penchant with Salomon Nirisarike Captain Rwanda during the FIFA World Cup qualifiers second round at the Nyayo National stadium on Monday, Nov 15, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Following the World football governing body FIFA suspension on Kenya, the implications are more than the words on paper.

The suspension essentially means the national team will not participate in international tournaments like the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), at the continental level or at a regional tournament like the Council for East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA).

On the global stage, Kenya won’t take part in the qualification process.

Other limitations will see FKF, its members, and officials fail to benefit from any development programs, courses, or training from the Confederation of African Football (CAF), FIFA, or both.

Kenya national teams and clubs can’t participate in CAF/FIFA tournament, Kenya will not receive any CAF/FIFA funds or other support, players from the country will not be able to transfer to clubs abroad, Kenya leagues and promotion/relegation may not be recognized by CAF/FIFA, FKF constitutional changes and elections may not be recognized by CAF/FIFA, The above will only change under a FIFA approved Normalisation Committee.

While addressing the media Mr. Gianni Infantino the FIFA President stated that the suspension would be lifted if CS for sports, Hon. Amina reinstated the duly and legally elected FKF Executive Committee as opposed to the caretaker committee currently overseeing football matters in Kenya.

Conversely, Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer Doris Petra and Barry Otieno respectively would follow up the reinstatement with a confirmation letter addressed to FIFA confirming FKF is back in full and unconditional control of football matters in Kenya.

In a letter sent to Barry Otieno, former FKF secretary-general after FIFA President Gianni Infantino suspended Kenya for government interference.

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura added that the other condition for Kenya to be readmitted back is the ministry of sports to disband the Caretaker committee.

“Furthermore, and without prejudice to the ongoing investigations into the allegations of corruption, the FIFA Council decided that the lifting of the suspension be subject to the following conditions: The repeal of the Cabinet Secretary’s decision of 11 November 2021 appointing the caretaker committee in lieu of the elected FKF Executive Committee.

 

“FIFA’s receipt of confirmation from the FKF and its management, led by Vice-President Doris Petra and General Secretary Barry Otieno, that the FKF and its premises are once more under their full and unconditional control,” Samoura stated.

Former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Sam Nyamweya urged the FIFA President Gianni Infantino led body to reconsider its stance. He said FIFA should help in restoring sanity and order in soccer in the country in a sober way.

“The CS Dr. Amina meant well for football in the country by disbanding FKF which had brought Kenyan football to its knees. Since the caretaker committee is not recognised by FIFA, the government should initiate dialogue with FIFA in reaching a consensus that will lead to both parties submitting names towards formation of a normalisation committee to run Kenyan football interimly before elections,” said Nyamweya.

Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, in November last year disbanded the Nick Mwendwa-led Football Kenya Federation and installed a Caretaker Committee to, among other things, run football activities in accordance with the federation’s constitution.

According to the FIFA Statutes (2018), each member association is responsible to FIFA for any acts of the members of their bodies.

This is the second suspension from FIFA as in June 2004, Kenya was suspended for three months due to government interference.

Other countries that have faced a similar suspension from FIFA include Chad, Sierra Leonne, Pakistan and Peru and lately Zimbabwe.?

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