Mwendwa challenges legality of FKF/KPL MoU

By alex wafula
Dec 15, 2016
  • Nick Mwendwa stated FKF has the resources to accommodate the additional two teams in the expanded league. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

Nick Mwendwa, the Football Kenya Federation bos has challenged the legality of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in September last year between the Federation and the Kenyan Premier League.

While giving his accounts during cross examination at the Sports Disputes Tribunal on Thursday evening, the FKF head alleged that the document signed was completely different from the agreed draft mid-wifed by Ghana FA president Kwesi Nyantakyi earlier in April.

He has now asked the Sports Disputes Tribunal to throw out the case presented by the KPL.

In his submissions, Mwendwa brought before the tribunal a recording of the press conference addressed by Nyantakyi in April last year where a roadmap for the agreement was announced.

According to the agreement which brought to an end a month-long dispute between KPL and FKF, Nyantakyi was to draft a final MoU which would have been sent back to both parties for approval before being sent to FIFA for a final thumbs up.

“The draft MoU which had been agreed on previously was not the one signed. According to us, the matter is still hanging. The agreement purportedly signed was a clear departure from the FIFA mediation process,” Mwendwa told the tribunal.

He went on to state the agreement which appears to give the KPL more powers than it should have goes against FIFA, CAF and FKF statutes. He also says it does not have the blessings of FIFA as it would have been immediately shot down had it gone through the hands of the world football governing body.

“The agreement creates a body called the Joint Executive Committee which gives KPL a casting vote. According to our constitution, KPL is a subordinate of the federation and giving them a casting vote takes away the powers of the NEC,” Mwendwa further stated.

Signed MoU

However, a factor that would throw into disarray the allegation the MoU was not binding is that it was signed on behalf of the federation by former president Sam Nyamweya and his CEO Michael Esakwa.

In his submissions on Tuesday, KPL lawyer Geoffrey Obura read out the preamble which clearly stated the two (Esakwa and Nyamweya) were acting with the full assent of the National Executive Committee.

Mwendwa maintained: “Both parties did not seek authority from their respective boards to enter unto the agreement.”

He was also put to task by Obura whether he had any evidence that the signed agreement never reached FIFA and was not the originally agreed document as he was not an FKF official at that time.

Meanwhile, Mwendwa has said the federation is willing to incur the expenses which will be brought about by adding two more teams to the league. He says this is part of a new agreement which they have drafted and presented to the tribunal as the way forward over the issue.

He also noted they will seek to contract KPL to run the top tier league up to 2020 or a period that will be agreed on by both, but it must be on an 18-team format.

“We have made this very clear, that we don’t intend to take away the powers of the KPL to run the league. We are prepared to sit down and sign this agreement, so that our game can continue,” Mwendwa noted.

He adds they are ready to relinquish the Sh10 million affiliation fee they receive from KPL annually added to another sum of Sh5 million which sponsors SportPesa agreed to add on to finance the two extra teams.

Good financial base

The federation, he further says, has a good financial base and it will be no problem financing the two extra teams. He said FKF receives Sh70 million per year in sponsorship from SportPesa, a Sh125 million per year grant from FIFA and a further Sh20.5 million per year from CAF.

However, Mwendwa said they have to be given copies of the KPL contract with SuperSport so they ascertain the exact amount they should be receiving.

Also in his submissions, Mwendwa went on to state why the federation is inclined to increasing the number of teams in the top flight.

He gave an analysis of Kenya’s performance in continental assignments from 1976, saying statistics showed clubs and the national team performed better when the league was bigger.

Mirroring on Gianni Infantino’s bid to increase the number of teams at the World Cup from 32 to 48, the FKF supremo stressed the importance of inclusivity.

“We have so many leagues down here and it is unfortunate that only 16 play in the top flight. We want to open a bigger opportunity for all these players down here to play in the Premier League,” Mwendwa noted.

The sitting was adjourned till Tuesday morning when Obura is expected to further cross examine Mwendwa. After that, the tribunal is expected to give a date for the ruling.

Tribunal chair John Ohaga stressed they are interested in ending the dispute once and for all. However, the earliest the ruling will be done is January as the tribunal has its final sitting for the year on Tuesday.