Record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia came out yesterday guns blazing, accusing Football Kenya Federation (FKF) of using ‘Machiavellian, underhand grounds” to procure the signature of the club as the controversy surrounding StarTimes Media broadcast deal boiled over.
In a hurriedly convened Press conference last evening, Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier was in uncharacteristic combative mood saying: “StarTimes, take notice that the letter purportedly written to you by Samuel Ochola Kwenda (Gor Mahia Secretary General) is invalid, void and of no effect in law.”
Gor Mahia have since suspended Ochola pending further disciplinary action.
This is after it emerged that Ochola had written a letter to StarTimes granting them the club’s broadcast rights even after the chairman, Rachier, had declined to sign the endorsement letter prepared by FKF.
Rachier said: “The endorsement letter was already stereotyped. It had already been sent to me. I rejected it. I asked for the StarTimes deal, which nobody has seen outside the confines of the FKF president and his cohorts. Even the lawyer for the federation, I asked him has not seen the contract. We are not ignorant people who should sign documents that we have not had sight of. I don’t know how they got him (Sam Ochola) to sign. And if he signed it in any legitimate way, he should not go underground and hide.”
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A section of top-tier league clubs including Gor Mahia, Tusker, military side Ulinzi Stars, Mathare United and Kericho-based Zoo FC have declined to cede their broadcast rights to FKF, which say are their intellectual property.
“The position of Gor Mahia Football Club with regard to the broadcast rights which is supported by the Executive Committee, our fans and supporters and which is known to the Football Kenya Federation, Startimes Media Limited and the general public is that the club owns such rights as its intellectual property and it is only the club that has the locus standi or legal authority to cede them or grant them to a third party.
“Any other Football Club has a similar authority to cast away such rights i.e. in accordance with its constitution or statutes.
While accusing FKF of intimidating club officials with threats of being relegated if they refuse to endorse the deal, Rachier said: “The Football Kenya Federation has no authority whatsoever to enter into any contract with any person purporting to grant such party our broadcast rights. Article 81 of the Football Kenya Federation constitution does not confer this rights.
“It is for this reason that the Football Kenya Federation has been cajoling, coercing and blackmailing Kenyan Premier League clubs into endorsing such rights to StarTimes Media. There are provisions of relegating a club, and if this is one of them I dare FKF to do so,” Rachier said.
Zoo FC chairman Ken Ochieng said the clubs will not be intimidated to sign a deal they were not involved in negotiating.
“This is the time Nick Mwendwa should show leadership. Threats and intimidation has no place especially when he is dealing with individual club’s inherent intellectual property.”