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Raila praises Gor performance, roots for 18-team league

FOOTBALL By ROBIN TOSKIN | February 14th 2015

Former Prime Raila Odinga has described as “petty” the squabbles between Football Kenya Federation and Kenyan Premier League Company over whether Kenya should have 16 or 18 premier league teams.

“I don’t see why we should not have an 18-team Premier League anyway,” Raila said after watching Gor Mahia beat Madagascar’s CNaPS 1-0 at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.

While praising Gor Mahia for the gritty performance despite their rustic performance, Raila said K’Ogalo would come good once the players gel – before give his thoughts on the raging battle between FKF and its subordinate, KPL.

 “Time has come for Kenya to have 18 teams so as we can develop our football. I would like both FKF and KPL to sit down and agree on a way forward,” the former Premier said adding, “Fifa has already sent them a stern warning and therefore it is up to them or else the world governing body would act.”

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Hassan Wario is due to meet both FKF and KPL officials on Monday in a bid to unlock the deadlock that could see both sides run parallel leagues. FKF Premier League kicks off on Sunday with a clash between Nakumatt FC and Shabana at 3pm in Machakos Stadium.

FKF feels aggrieved that KPL, without a power of attorney, extended for six years their league’s broadcast rights with pay-TV sports channel Supersport, which expires in September.

It also accuses KPL of rejecting their directive that the league be expanded to 18 teams from 16, a right they say, though requires consensus, is their prerogative.

KPL on the other hand accuses FKF of ramming down their throat the 18-team format without due consultation, consensus building and consideration to contractual obligations signed with Supersport in 2010.

The clubs also hold the view that as members of FKF they are heirs to the broadcast rights – a fact FKF acknowledges, but denounces KPL Company Limited as their member.

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