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Zoo Kericho, Mathare United suspended from FKF Premier League

SPORTS By Washington Onyango | December 9th 2020
Mathare United's Francis Omondi tackles Bandari's Hassan Abdallah during a preseason tournament at Utalii Grounds on January 26, 2018. Mathare United won 2-1. [Photo/Stafford Ondego]

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has suspended Mathare United and Zoo FC from taking part in the 2020-2021 FKF Premier League.

This is after the federation and the clubs failed to agree over a Sh800 million broadcast rights deal from sponsors StarTimes.

In a FKF press statement seen by the Standard Sports, the two clubs have been given 48 hours to salvage their stay in the top-flight if they move to sign the broadcast deal between FKF and StarTimes.

The decision was made at the end of Wednesday’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.

According to FKF president Nick Mwendwa, the two clubs have been given 48 hours to sign the StarTimes endorsement deal in order for them to be included in the next FKF-Premier League fixtures.

He said failure to do that will lead to their expulsion from the top tier league which enters its third week this weekend.

“We have been very patient with the two clubs and done our best to convince them to meet their obligations in order to preserve the commercial rights of the league.”

“While the other clubs have given us their endorsements, the two have declined to do so as the league enters match day three. The league cannot continue without the two clubs meeting their obligations,” read the statement.

Zoo and Mathare have refused to sign an undertaking to surrender the broadcast rights deal to FKF with the club chairmen Ken Ochieng and Bob Munro insisting the clubs own these rights.

These two clubs had been barred from competing in the FKF Premier League, which enters is third round this weekend.

Brian Asewe (right) of Zoo battles for the ball with Daniel Sakari of Kariobangi Sharks during the Kenya Premier League match played at Afraha stadium in Nakuru on November 3,2019. [Photo: Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

The two clubs have until Friday 11 December, 5pm to sign the endorsement, failure to which the matter will be referred to the federation’s General Congress, in February 2021.

Ulinzi Stars, who have also not signed the deal were given until Monday, December 14, failure to which they will be suspended from the top league.

“The NEC considered the case of Ulinzi and noted that being a military team, they require certain processes to be followed. In that regard, we have given them until Monday at 5p.m to sign the endorsement.

“Failure to do that will result in them being suspended from the top league,” added the FKF president.

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]

He assured players from the three teams that they will be accorded a provisional window of 15 days to sign for other clubs, should their clubs fail to meet their respective deadlines.

At the same time, the FKF president said disciplinary proceedings will be opened against Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier for bringing the game into disrepute.

Rachier wrote a letter to StarTimes withdrawing a letter the club’s Secretary General had written to FKF endorsing the broadcast deal.

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