Kenyan top-flight football management faces uncertain future with lapse of deal

European Football Leagues

The future management of Kenyan top-tier club football remains in question following the lapse on Thursday of a contract between the country’s federation and the company that has managed its top flight since 2003.

The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Limited was established in October 2003 by top-flight clubs following constant wrangles between the football governing administration and the eventual deterioration of the National Football League.

Each participating club that opted out of the old first division decided to form a company affiliated to the federation that would see the smooth running of the league in a professional and transparent manner.

A Football Kenya Federation (FKF)-KPL agreement was drafted in 2015, giving the latter the legal mandate to run top-flight football in the country until Sept. 24.

However, the league administrators did not manage to finish their last season as planned due to the pandemic.

FKF president, Nick Mwendwa, who is seeking a fresh mandate during the Oct. 17 national elections, has been adamant the KPL contract will not be renewed and the top-tier will be known as the FKFPL starting in the 2020-21 season.

Speaking to Xinhua in Nairobi on Thursday, KPL chief executive Jack Ogudasa said the decision on the fate of the KPL-Limited will be made by shareholder clubs following the said elections.

“I was advised by the chairman to wait until the football elections are over so that the company can engage with the new president on a way forward before the members make a decision,” the long-serving CEO added.

The start of the new season also remains unclear after the government, through the sports ministry, last week announced that contact sport, football included, remains suspended due to COVID-19.

Clubs were permitted to start training in small groups whilst observing social distancing and other protocols in place to combat the pandemic.

Some candidates, opposed to Mwendwa in the presidential elections, have promised to renew KPL’s mandate to run the league if elected but the most vocal, former federation chief, Sam Nyamweya, withdrew from the polls citing irregularities.

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