Amrouche pay standoff leaves Harambee Stars staring at bleak future
Kenya was holding its breath yesterday as the country awaited a final ruling from world football governing body Fifa regarding the late payment of Sh109 million compensation to former Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche.
After Football Kenya Federation (FKF) failed to settle the fine imposed following the wrongful dismissal of Amrouche in 2014, Fifa gave Kenya an extended period of 30 days to pay the tactician and failure to do so will attract Fifa’s Disciplinary Committee’s intervention.
The case was re-submitted for evaluation by the Fifa Disciplinary Committee after FKF failed to honour the initial date that had been given.
FKF had been given until April 23 to clear their debt over the Algerian’s dismissal but they were unable to do so.
The Court of Arbitration for Sports made their ruling, awarding Amrouche Sh108,194,863, in September 2019 and on December 2019, FKF were again ordered to pay the Botswana head coach a further Sh181,511, which brought the amount to Sh109,376,374.
On February 28, the Fifa Disciplinary Committee wrote to FKF and instructed them to pay the fines but on March 3, the federation wrote back to the Zurich body requesting for more time to settle the same.
Fifa replied, on March 5, that they had granted FKF six days to pay but the federation did not honour the order within those days.
On March 24, Fifa again wrote to the Nick Mwendwa-led body that they were to pay Amrouche within 30 days or risk sanctions with expulsion from Fifa competitions being one of them. FKF was also fined a further Sh3,243,241.
After the 30-day period lapsed without any proof of settlement of the fines by FKF, Fifa on April 24, set May 18 (yesterday) as the date Kenya would know their fate concerning the case.
“In this regard, we take due note from the content of the above-mentioned correspondence that the Football Kenya Federation allegedly did not pay the amounts due to the coach Adel Amrouche within the granted deadline and that the latter therefore requests that further disciplinary sanctions be imposed on the Football Kenya Federation,” read a letter from Fifa to FKF CEO Barry Otieno then.
“In this sense, we kindly inform the parties that, in accordance with point 4. of the decision passed by the Chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee on 23 March 2020, the case will be resubmitted to a member of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee on 18 May 2020 for evaluation in order to decide on harsher sanctions to be imposed on the Football Kenya Federation, which may lead, among others, to possible expulsion from Fifa competitions,” the letter added.
By the time of going to press, the decision from Fifa had not been made yet but Mwendwa, in an earlier interview, made it clear that he would want the payment to be done in order to avoid sanctions.
“I have said before we have to be in the World Cup qualifiers and the millions to Amrouche is nothing compared to the experience from the qualifier whether we qualify or not,” Mwendwa said.
However, while the federation has expressed a desire to pay, they maintain that their coffers are empty hence a request to the government to help them settle the dues.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has also maintained a hardline stance, insisting that the government will not pay for what she terms mistakes of the federation, leaving players and the country in a difficult position.
Expulsion from Fifa competitions means Harambee Stars will be locked out of the 2022 World Cup, whose qualifiers begin on October 5.
Kenya received a bye into the second round of the qualifies where they are in Group E alongside neighours Uganda, Rwanda and Mali. - Additional information from Goal.com