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Sports Tribunal to hear Gor Mahia ‘title’ case

Last updated 4 months ago | By Robin Toskin

Gor Mahia players celebrate a trophy at Moi Stadium in Kisumu on September 31, 2018, after Gor Mahia was crowned as the 2018 KPL champions. [Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard]

The Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) will today listen to a case that will determine whether Gor Mahia will keep the 2019/2020 title FKF president Nick Mwendwa tweeted to them on April 30 or decision will be referred to the Kenyan Premier League Limited for determination.

KPL Ltd and relegation-threatened Chemelil Sugar went to the Sports Tribunal in May seeking an interpretation as to whether Mwendwa or FKF had the power to end the league and declare a champion and relegate others — a function they argue is bestowed on them vide an MOU signed in 2015.

FKF, which has had its election exercise cancelled twice by the SDT for violating Fifa Statutes, the Kenya Constitution, and its own Constitution has not had a National Executive Committee after their term expired on February 10.

Despite an SDT ruling dated January 10, 2017, that placed an injunction against FKF from interfering with the running of the league until September 24 this year, Mwendwa rubbed KPL the wrong way when he ‘ended’ the football season citing the inconvenience of Government and Health Ministry curfew measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tweet on April 30 at 12:28pm read: “Ooh and Congratulations Gor Mahia! You are champions once again and you will represent Kenya on the champions league next season.”  He added: “Nairobi City Stars!! Welcome to the Premier League.”

KPL, citing the SDT ruling on March 17 that declared the term of office of the FKF National Executive Committee was at end, said Mwendwa had not powers to make such a decision in the absence of the NEC.

After a preliminary objection by FKF lawyers and a group of clubs allied to FKF was quashed and an eyebrow-raising attempt by Chemelil Sugar FC to withdraw the case, the hearing will go on today by way of video conferencing.

A KPL official, who did not wish to be named told Standard Sports yesterday that, “Chemelil’s attempt to withdraw their case, which effectively they have no problem even if they were relegated, does not affect the KPL case at all.”

“We stand by our earlier position which we sent to the SDT for interpretation,” he said.

At the time of Mwendwa’s tweet, KPL CEO Jack Oguda said: “There are procedures to be followed during such extra-ordinary situations. When you look at that MOU, there is Joint Executive Committee (JEC) comprising of FKF president, two NEC members, KPL chairman and two KPL members supposed to address such issues.”

He added: “But since the SDT declared NEC’s term over the FKF Secretariat should wait for the KPL’s decision on the league’s status. FKF cannot impose a decision on us when there is an MOU between KPL and FKF in place.”

KPL CEO Jack Oguda. [Photo/DENNIS OKEYO]

FKF had reasoned at the time that Rule of the Rules and Regulations of Kenyan Football stipulate that: “Where the league format due to circumstances of force majeure fails to be completed within the season, the league winner shall be determined as follows; Where all the Clubs in the league have completed the first round fixture but less than 75% league games have been played, the table standings at the end of the first round shall be considered as the final table standings of the league.”

The hearing comes against a backdrop of an SDT ruling on September 2 on powers Mwendwa can exercise pending elections.

The SDT concluded: “The Office of the President of FKF is not synonymous with the National Executive Committee and the same should be constituted in line with the relevant Articles of the FKF Constitution and in adherence with the decision of this Tribunal dated 17th March 2020 to enable the FKF hold meetings in line with the FKF Constitution.”

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