Infantino: Kenya and Zimbabwe know what needs to be done to lift bans

Harambee Stars players react after their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier Group E match against Uganda Cranes at Nyayo national stadium on September 2, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

World football’s governing body FIFA has moved to suspend Football Kenya Federation with immediate effect, citing interference by the government.

In a statement released at the FIFA Council meeting in Zurich yesterday, President Gianni Infantino also confirmed the Zimbabwe Football Association has also been suspended due to the same.

"We had to suspend two of our member associations; Kenya and Zimbabwe both for government interference in their activities of football. Both associations are suspended from all football activities with immediate effect.

"They know what needs to be done for them to be re-admitted or for the suspension to be lifted," " said Infantino.

For FIFA to dispense of Kenya’s suspension, the now-defunct FKF needs to be reinstated, with the current Caretaker Committee disbanded.

A suspension was somewhat looming, following the recent communication by the FIFA in November last year, where Chief Member Associations Officer Kenny Jean-Marie threatened to ban Kenya from football-related activities.

However, Jean-Marie said FIFA was willing to hold a meeting with FKF officials and the Ministry of Sports to address concerns.

According to the FIFA Statutes published in 2018, each member association is responsible towards FIFA for any acts of the members of their bodies.

“As a matter of fact, we deem fit to highlight that all FIFA member associations are statutorily required to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence of any third parties. Any failure to these obligations may lead to sanctions provided for in the FIFA Statuses, even if the third-party influence was not the fault of the member association concerned,” read a statement from FIFA in part.

What led to this?

After CS Amina Mohamed moved to suspend FKF president Nick Mwendwa, CEO Barry Otieno and other FKF officials on November 11, 2021, over allegations of misappropriation of funds at Kandanda House, fans contemplated a possible ban coming Kenya's way. 

She then formed a Caretaker Committee led by former Judge Aaron Ringera to steer the wheel at the federation for six months. Amina also formed a secretariat to help in operations at the football body.

However, FIFA warned the Cabinet Secretary of a ban if her decision was to be upheld.

“It is up to Fifa alone, on the basis of serious and well-founded information as well as under exceptional circumstances, to order the dismissal of executive bodies of member associations followed by the appointment of a normalization committee.” Read the statement in part.

Fifa also opened room for a meeting with the embattled federation officials and Sports Ministry to address concerns raised by the parties. Fifa Secretary General, Fatma Samoura further asked the Sports CS to reinstate all suspended FKF officials in a succeeding communique addressed to her on November 14.

“I must highlight that the appointment of the so-called “caretaker committee” by your office is undoubtedly contrary to our principles according to which all of our member associations, including FKF, are required to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence of any third parties,” part of the letter read.

“The situation could, therefore, potentially lead to a suspension of the FKF by Fifa and in such a case, it would be all of Kenyan football that would suffer the consequences.”

Various stakeholders of the game backed the dissolution of the football body in the country. 

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