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Mwendwa's decision to declare Gor Mahia champions unchallenged as SDT dismisses Kenya Premier League petition

FOOTBALL By Robin Toskin | September 16th 2020 | 4 min read
FKF President Nick Mwendwa at Goal Project unveiling Sh1.2 billion sponsorship deal with BetKing towards sponsoring the Kenyan Premier League and the Women League. July 16, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

FKF president’s decision to end the football season and declare Gor Mahia the Kenyan Premier League champions for the 2019/2020 remains after the league body’s petition was dismissed by the Sports Disputes Tribunal, yesterday.

The SDT ruled that the Kenyan Premier League Ltd had not sought the authority of its shareholders to file a petition on their behalf.

“Consequently, the petition is dismissed,” SDT chairman John Ohaga said.

In view of that, the SDT predictably declined to award KPL Ltd the damages it had sought.

KPL’s case was compounded by the withdrawal from the Chemelil Sugar, which left the league body clutching at straws.

The SDT chairman, however, said that the FKF president, Nick Mwendwa, who is enjoying temporary incumbency had not power to make decisions that are otherwise vested in the the National Executive Committee.

"We reiterate the ruling on September 1 that FKF President and FKF are not synonymous. The FKF president has no authority to make the decision on behalf of FKF. In essence, the current FKF FKF president is a King without the crown," SDT chair John Ohaga.

On April 30, Mwendwa cancelled the football season, declared Gor Mahia KPL champions while promoting Nairobi City Stars and Bidco United to the top-tier league.

KPL chairman Ambrose Rachier agreed that the Petition was improperly placed before the Sports Tribunal.

“What it means is that the FKF President will probably want to push and a decision that has no legal basis. And because, it’s the FKF that talks with CAF, they will surely want to forward Gor Mahia’s name to the continental body to be included in the fixtures.

KPL will now have to weigh its options pursuant to the FKF football rules and regulations Article 2.3.1 on Playing Season states, which states: "The FKF National Executive Committee shall annually set the opening and closing dates for all FKF Leagues and/ or Competitions."

KPL had gone to court to ask whether the FKF president Mwendwa acted within the law to declare Gor Mahia champions, relegate and promote other teams.

 The announcement technically also relegated Chemelil Sugar, Sony Sugar who had already been ejected early in the season and left Kisumu All Stars in a play-off position with a third-placed National Super League team.

Gor Mahia FC players line-up against Aigle Noir The Fighters from Burundi during their CAF Total Champions League 2019/20 match at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on August 25, 2019. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

 KPL had also sought the SDT to find that Mwendwa had subverted the law and an existing MOU that vested the control of the top tier competition on the league body.

KPL argued also that their MOU with FKF gave them the exclusive mandate of running the league until September 24. Besides, KPL insisted, FKF president who is the only remaining NEC member cannot purport to make decisions that require the entire executive.

FKF (read Mwendwa) maintained they had to take the decision given the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and that the Confederation of African Football wanted a list of Kenya’s representatives for continental assignments.

However, with the Petition now dismissed, it will be left to the KPL Governing Council to determine the next course of action.

KPL hopes now hinge on an SDT ruling on September 1, 2020 where the Sports Tribunal found that Mwendwa had no authority to exercise powers vested in other bodies of the FKF, including the National Executive Committee and the General Assembly.



SDT Ruling on September 1 on powers of FKF president enjoying temporary incumbency

----- We note that the construction of the FKF Constitution does not provide for the President to solely undertake meetings through his own motion and the same must be either through General or Special Meetings or those spearheaded by committees in undertaking their designated tasks under the Constitution and the same is subject to the requisite constituent members. This therefore requires a NEC to be in place.

---- The President therefore is bound by the FKF Constitution and therefore can only operate in the interests of FKF within the limits of the office considering the assumed status pertained in Art. 43 (2). Being the existing member of NEC still sitting at their appointed seat, the President’s powers are limited to the extent of those activities that the office can undertake as FKF.

--- In conjunction with the office of the General Secretary as highlighted in Articles 62 and 63, the Respondents cannot subvert the directions of the Tribunal or the FKF Constitution which requires certain thresholds as to membership of the Bodies of FKF to be met in order for proper management and administration and decision making of FKF to ensue.

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