Experts feel stalemate could hurt FKF’s coffers

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 00:00 |
Lawyers Elvis Majani and Victor Omwebu representing FKF president Nick Mwendwa (right) and CEO Barry Otieno (centre) at the Sports Disputes Tribunal last month. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) risks losing big-money sponsorship if the current electoral stalemate continues.

FKF were due to hold elections last December but that has been quashed twice by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT), the latest decision made on March 17 where the John Ohaga-led team proposed a normalisation committee from Fifa to run things while until a new team is place.

However, Fifa quashed all that last week, saying they do not recognise the SDT while setting up a meeting between FKF, the tribunal and Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to solve the issue next month.

It is still not clear, however, whether the meeting will be fruitful, leading to uncertainty in Kenyan football.

It is this scenario that has sports management experts warning that the federation could lose what they have or not attract more should the situation persist. 

“Any sponsor worth his salt would be rattled under the circumstances and would want to hold back. Shareholders are a very wary lot and might not want to be associated with bad press.

Elections are supposed to be a structured process that does not damage interests because any sponsor out there is selfish,” said Sports Business Consultant Cynthia Mumbo. 

“Football, like any other sport, is about the growth of the game and things like politics should be secondary.

What we have with FKF currently is negative vibe and sometimes this is hurtful to the overall picture.

However, key on this issue will be about contract clauses and since the federation signed long-term deals, it would be beneficial in that sense,” she added.

Sports Advocate Elvis Majani has a different view, arguing that most of the FKF’s sponsors currently, and especially the betting firms, were coerced by circumstances. 

“We all know the political push and pull that has been witnessed by betting firms and the government because of taxes.

This made some firms pull out while the ones that remained had to play ball. The pressure was on them to go into what could pull numbers and add value to their bottom-line,” said Majani.

He went on: “Besides, they have full-proof contracts which now shield them. However, in the future some of the clauses will demand great scrutiny especially in the event of exiting.

Both parties are wary not to breach contract terms because it is not about individuals.

A brand like Safaricom would be more wary and obviously will be following the issue keenly because they have a name to protect at all costs.”

“I think the headache would most likely be if the argument was based on financial misappropriation, then the legal implications would prompt a rethink in their partnerships,” said Majani.

More on Football