Doom for Kenyan football as FIFA ban looms
Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa has served a foru year team in office since February 2016
As a looming showdown over Football Kenya Federation (FKF) elections is in the offing an imminent international ban imposed by the world football governing body FIFA beckons.
This is after the world football governing body FIFA overruled the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) decision of requesting FIFA to form a normalisation committee to oversee FKF fresh polls.
FIFA reinstated the federation’s National Executive Committee (NEC) which the SDT had dissolved after cancelling the FKF elections by saying it does not recognize the tribunal as a legal entity but only recognizes decisions made by the Swiss based Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
Sports Minister Ambassador Amina Mohammed welcomed the judgment that was delivered ten days before the local governing football body, FKF national elections slated for March 27th to set the stage for a confrontation with FIFA.
If Kenya rejects FIFA’s directive then FIFA will consider it as interference by a third party and ban the Kenya Federation on account of third party interference which is in contravention with Article 13, par. 1 and article 17, par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes which oblige member associations to manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.
Interference from any third party is forbidden by FIFA and can result in a football ban.
The suspension of the Kenya FA from international football by FIFA would have a lot of implications on the development of the game in the country.
As a result of this decision, no Kenyan team can compete in any international (CAF, FIFA and CECAFA organised) competitions including at club level, or in International friendly matches during the period of suspension in accordance with article 14 paragraph 3 of the FIFA Statutes.
The most immediate effect is that Kenya will not be entitled to participate in the upcoming 2021 Cameroon African Cup of Nations qualifiers and a ban would hinder Kenya’s qualification as the fixtures would not be played and the results awarded to the opposition.
The ban will also affect the preparation of all other national sides. The Harambee Starlets have a series of qualifiers in preparation for the upcoming Africa Women Cup of Nations to be held in November in Tunisia against Tanzania on April 6th and 12th.
A FIFA ban would put an end to the hopes of a number of new players who joined professional ranks such as Annette Kundu and Ruth Ingosi plying their trade at Lakatamia in Cyprus, Corazon Aquino of Atletico Ouriense and Essie Akida who turns up for Besikitas in Turkey. The star women footballers, who recently have become mainstays, will be unable to show their worth at their clubs if they don’t play international football.
The other impact a FIFA ban would have on Kenyan football would see FKF's various sponsors pulling out to cause a cessation of football activities.
Over the past year, the FKF House has been able to secure some deals which have made funds available to various levels of Kenyan football.
Seeing the sponsors take away their investment due to the chaos and instability occasioned by the FIFA ban would be terrible as it would impact the entire financial infrastructure on which Kenyan football is built.
Some of the partners on board are Betika sponsoring the second-tier league, Betway handling the FKF Cup, Odibets sponsors of grassroots football County leagues, Safaricom through the Chapa Dimba youth tournament and until recently Kenyan Premier League (KPL) sponsors SportPesa.
In addition, neither the FKF nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any FIFA or CAF development programmes, courses, training or appointments of match officials in continental and international assignments during the suspension period.
Kenya managed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) last year for the first time in 15 years when there was relative calm which brought about stability in Kenyan football during Nick Mwendwa’s administration first term in office after being elected in 2015.
Harambee Starlets made history qualifying for their maiden Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) in 2016 before dethroning Cecafa Women’s Challenge Cup holder’s Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Queens at the Chamazi Stadium, Dar es Salaam to lift their first ever regional title last year.