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Breaking: Kenya handed ban by FIFA over government interference

Embattled former FKF Boss Nick Mwendwa and CEO Barry Otieno
  • FIFA says only condition is to disband caretaker committee 
  • The ban handed on Kenya and Zimbabwe is indefinite
  • It is the second ban for Kenya in recent times having also been suspended in 2004

World Football governing body FIFA has slapped a ban from all football activities on Kenya over government interference.

In a press conference on Thursday evening, FIFA boss Gianni Infantino made the announcement, with Zimbabwe also suffering the same fate.

Infantino said; “We have our statues & we expect countries to abide by it. We want to work with the government but there’s always a line, it must be respected.”

This comes after Sports Cabinet Secretary last year disbanded the Football Kenya Federation over what she termed as gross misappropriation of funds, and installed a caretaker committee to run the game in the country.

We had to suspend two of our Member Associations, Kenya and Zimbabwe for government interference in the activities of football in these associations with immediate effect and they know what needs to be done for them to be re-admitted or the suspension to be lifted,” said the FIFA boss during his address on Thursday evening.

Furthermore, in a letter sent by Email to embattled Chief Executive Officer Barry Otieno, FIFA has underscored the conditions required for the country to be re-admitted as a Member Association.

“The repeal of the Cabinet Secretary’s decision of 11 November 2021 appointing the caretaker committee in lieu of the elected FKF Executive Committee,”

“FIFA’s receipt of confirmation from the FKF and its management, led by Vice-President Doris Petra and General Secretary Barry Otieno, that the FKF and its premises are once more under their full and unconditional control,” the letter said, as two of the conditions necessary to have the ban lifted.

Kenya banned by FIFA

CS Amina hands over the report to Caretaker Committee chair Aaron Ringera

According to FIFA, they had given Kenya enough time to re-think the decision after various in and out communications with Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

However, FIFA regrettably said that the last meeting between the two parties, initially scheduled for December 15, did not take place.

“Finally, notwithstanding this suspension imposed on the FKF and in line with FIFA zero-tolerance policy towards corruption and any other unethical conduct, FIFA reiterates its commitment to cooperating with any ongoing investigations regarding FKF officials. FIFA will therefore remain at the disposal of the national authorities during the suspension period,” the letter to Otieno, from FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura further states.

Kenya’s suspension from football was not a question of if, but when, since the Sports CS took on an arbitrary decision to disband the entire Federation over corruption charges facing then boss Mwendwa.

Mwendwa was twice arrested and released, and an anti-corruption case against him lodged.

He had insisted, before and after his arrest that the process was illegitimate and that they remained bonafide officials of the federation.

After his second arrest, Mwendwa made the decision to relinquish his position as the Federation boss, and left the tools of power to his deputy Doris Petra.

FKF President Nick Mwendwa

Even then, the CS reiterated that the Caretaker Committee continued to run football and warned all and sundry not to make any dealings with the Federation. They took over running of all leagues in the country, leaving a whole thread of confusion behind.

According to FIFA statutes, the government cannot interfere with the running of activities of any Member Association.

In their letter, FIFA stated; “On the basis of article 14 paragraphs 1 i) and 3 of the FIFA Statutes – as well as article 16 paragraph 1, under which the FIFA Council may, without a vote of the Congress, temporarily suspend with immediate effect a member association that seriously violates its obligations.”

At the same time, FIFA says that it will not recognize any attempts to conduct an election at the FKF, something that the caretaker committee was mandated to do before their six month tenure ended.

Already, Kenya has felt the brunt of the invasion by the CS into the Federation with national women football team Harambee Starlets not being able to play the qualifiers for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.

CAF had written to FKF asking them on whether they were ready to assemble a team for the two matches, but in a response, CEO Otieno said they were not in a position to do so as they had been hounded out of office.

Consequently, CAF made the decision to hand a walkover to Uganda who qualified to the final tournament on a silver platter.

It is now left to be seen what decision the CS will make after the declaration by FIFA.


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