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Fifa Congress to make call on Kenya's case

By Elvince Joshua - March 31st 2022

 

Harambee Starlets captain Corazone Aquino (on phone) and her teammates during last month's press briefing at Kasarani Stadium. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenyans will keenly be following the events as they transpire approximately 3,150 kilometres away, today, in Doha, Qatar at the 72nd Fifa Congress, whose decision will directly affect hundreds of football talents in the country.

Kenyan, alongside Zimbabwe, will be hoping that Fifa drops a light punishment on the matter before them; whether to suspend, expulse or reinstate two of its member associations.

The matter is part of the 12-point agenda of the Congress set to be chaired by the world governing body president Gianni Infantino who had warned that the affected countries “know what to do” if they want the decisions rescinded.

Another key agenda will be for the congress to take votes on proposals for amending the statutes; regulations governing the application of the statutes and the standing orders of the congress as well as discuss the Annual Report.

Under the annual report, member countries will discuss and cast a lot on approval of the consolidated financial statements for 2021 and a detailed budget for 2023.

But it is the resolution of agenda four, of a meeting set to be held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center from 11:00 am today, that Kenyans will keenly be interested in.

On February 25, 2022, Fifa handed Kenya a suspension thereafter gave certain conditions to be met by the government, before any further actions could be taken.

Fifa had cited government interference in the operations of Football Kenya Federation (FKF). This was after Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed disbanded the entire FKF secretariat over allegations of misappropriation of funds on November 11 and appointed a Caretaker Committee to run football affairs for a period of six months.

While Fifa had no qualms with the ongoing investigation by the government on the federation and its officials, Zurich, however, interpreted Amina’s move to install a Caretaker Committee as government interference.

But acting FKF president Doris Petra who will represent Kenya in the virtual meeting has warned that there are three possible scenarios that will come out of the meeting.

“It’s true we have been invited to the congress, but as Kenyan FA, to give an update on the status of the Kenyan football. I’m the one who will represent the FA in the meeting. Fifa is likely to ratify the suspension or lift it and maybe give us more time to sort out our issues depending on whether we met the set conditions,” Petra told Standard Sports.

While announcing the suspension, Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura, said that Kenya will only be readmitted after the government revokes the appointment of the Caretaker Committee and reopens the doors for the federation’s secretariat at Goal Project, Kasarani.

The government has never met any of the conditions.

“They (Kenya and Zimbabwe) know what needs to be done for them to be re-admitted or for the suspension to be lifted,” Infantino noted moments after he announced Kenya’s suspension.

If the suspension is confirmed, Kenyan players, coaches and referees will be hit the hardest.

No Kenyan player will be allowed to transfer to a new club or move abroad for a professional stint.

The national women’s team, Harambee Starlets, was the first team to feel the brunt of Fifa after it was locked out of the final round fixtures of the 2022 African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers match against Uganda last month.

CAF then rubber-stamped Uganda’s Crested Cranes qualification to the upcoming continental finals in Morocco.

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