FKF, State hoping today’s meeting with Fifa will chart way forward

Monday, April 6th, 2020 12:00 |
FKF boss Nick Mwendwa and Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed Photo/PHILIP KAMAKYA

Football stakeholders in the country are waiting with bated breath to see if a proposed meeting by world governing body Fifa with relevant authorities regarding the way forward on the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) elections takes place today. 

Fifa last month set April 6, as the possible date for a meeting involving itself, FKF, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) after trashing the latter’s ruling that sent packing the federation’s national executive, apart from president Nick Mwendwa, and also proposed a normalisation committee.

FKF had sought directives from the SDT to be allowed to conduct their elections before the end of March as directed by Fifa before complying with the Sports Act 2012 after Sports Registrar Rose Wasike had insisted that compliance had to come before the electoral exercise. 

However, that invited a number of petitioners who felt left out of the elections while terming it not free and fair and while tribunal John Ohaga agreed with FKF on number of things including the contentious one of compliance, he took issue with the FKF Electoral Code. 

“The eligibility criteria at Section 4 of the 2020 Electoral Code are unreasonable and designed to lock out potential aspirants and is, therefore, a gross violation of the principle of free and fair elections,” Ohaga said in his ruling on March 17 while nullifying the elections and proposed that Fifa form a normalisation committee to run football in Kenya until a new office is in place. 

But Fifa did not take that kindly and even took a swipe at FKF for subjecting itself to the SDT. 

Sports Disputes Tribunal chairman John Ohaga. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO 

“First and foremost, we would like to highlight that the FKF statutes do not expressly recognise the jurisdiction of the SDT as being the ultimate arbitration forum at national level.

Moreover, we note that the SDT is not a national arbitration tribunal in the sense of Fifa circular 1010 dated 20 December 2005,” read part of statement from Fifa Chief Member Associations Officer Véron Mosengo-Omba in its response to the SDT on March 25. 

“Despite the aforementioned, the FKF surprisingly subjected to the SDT by its own initiative while it was not obliged to so do as per its Statutes.

This however does not entail that the SDT decisions are binding on Fifa when it comes to its prerogatives and remit for which the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland has exclusive competence (cf. art. 57 and 58 of Fifa Statutes, 2019 edition).

Therefore, we wish to emphasise that the relevant SDT ruling has no legal effect on Fifa,” added the statement.

But perhaps mindful that their decision would draw the ire of the Kenyan government, Fifa extended an olive branch to all parties, agreeing to act as mediator to help find a solution.

“In this context and for the sake of peace, Fifa is ready to meet as soon as possible with the FKF, the SDT representative(s), the Minister of Sport and any other relevant stakeholders in order to find a way forward.

In this respect, should the world health situation not evolve positively by April 6, 2020, we shall contact you to explore other possibilities including a meeting by video conference,” the Fifa statement further said.

But with the number of new cases and deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic around the world increasing everyday, it is not still clear if the meeting will take place.

FKF and the government are, however, optimistic that the meeting will take place so that a way forward to the impasse is found.

“We are not sure because of the coronavirus but it is Fifa to initiate the meeting.

If it takes place, we will go there with an open mind hoping for a fruitful meeting that will yield a lasting solution,” FKF CEO Barry Otieno told People Sport yesterday.

Speaking to a local TV station last Friday, Amina appeared not happy with Fifa’s response to STD but remained open to dialogue on the way forward. 

“We did not go to court (SDT), it is FKF who did so. It is important for Fifa or any organisation to respect our courts but they have set up a meeting and we’re waiting for communication on whether it will take place.

If it happens, we hope it brings a solution so that our youth can continue enjoying football,” Amina told NTV.

Last moth’s ruling was the second time SDT was stopping the FKF elections after doing so in December 2019 after citing a number of anomalies in the electoral process code and a number of stakeholders hope today’s meeting could take place so a quick solution is found.

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