By Gilbert Wandera

Shin guards are off again! And the marriage bed of Football Kenya Limited and Kenya Premier League (KPL) has budged even as the football fraternity awaits a delayed report seeking to find a way out of the leadership wars.

A row has been simmering precipitated by FKL’s suspension of KPL’s Technical Director in charge of referees, GMT Ottieno which the latter has since rubbished.

Harambee Stars’ friendlies,, too, outside the Fifa Calendar is understood to be driving the premier league clubs up the wall.

Yesterday, the KPL clubs threatened not to release players to the national team, Harambee Stars’, arguing FKL was disrupting the league with unplanned friendlies.

Harambee Stars play Iran tomorrow at the Azadi Stadium, in Tehran and FKL have lined up another against Malawi on March 22 in Nairobi.

KPL CEO, Jack Oguda, said there are already matches scheduled for those dates and they cannot be altered.

Oguda said in a statement: "The matches can only be changed if FKL gives an undertaking by 5pm today that they will scrap off all Football Kenya Cup matches as well as reimburse monies spent on hiring match venues for that day."

live matches

He added: "They will also have to pay SuperSport which is expected to televise live matches to be played on those dates."

KPL also demanded that they be paid ten percent of all funds collected by the newly formed Harambee Stars Management Board (HSMB) until money the spent on the team last year is repaid in full.

FKL chairman Mohammed Hatimy denied that they were planning to play an international friendly next weekend.

However, Hatimy said they cannot guarantee that future international matches will be played on Fifa dates since every match depends on the understanding between two federations.

"It is unfair for KPL to insist that they will only release players on Fifa dates. First of all they are very few and this team needs to play many build-up matches," he said.

Hatimy said there was no agreement between them and KPL to repay the money they spent on the national team.

The major difference between the two firms is in regard to appointment of referees for KPL matches and this is what led to the suspension of Ottieno.

While KPL insists that this responsibility belongs to them, FKL will hear none of it and has even instructed Fifa accredited referees not to honour such matches.

Accredited Referees

Hatimy, while admitting that an initial meeting between the two companies had left the responsibility of appointing referees to KPL, the company has not adhered to agreements they had on the same.

"We agreed that FKL will submit its list of referees to KPL for appointment but they have never appointed them for matches," Hatimy claimed.

But KPL denies this and accuse FKL of never submitting their list of referees to them since the agreement was penned two years ago.

The company insists it will never allow FKL’s ‘incompetent referees committee’ to appoint match officials.

Hatimy denies there is a major rift between the two of them and insists the only difference they have is on the appointment of referees.