Mwendwa: It was painful to see Mathare United axed but FKF had no option |

The federation boss says he was hurt to see the two clubs removed from the top-flight but says they had no options left

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa has revealed he was saddened to see Mathare United and Zoo FC removed from the FKF Premier League.

The two ‘rebel clubs’ were finally suspended from the top-flight and scrapped from the 2020-21 fixtures after they refused to endorse the broadcast deal between FKF and StarTimes.

According to Mwendwa, they gave the teams more than enough time to sign the document but they refused and as FKF they did not have any other option rather than to remove them from the league.

“I am saddened that the effort put by the two clubs to reach where they are and what they are doing now,” Mwendwa said as quoted by FKF Media.

“Mathare United was formed in 1994, I was in form one, surely then they have refused to sign a contract and they don’t have an alternative, how will they get help, I am saddened but we don’t have options, the only decision we had was to remove them.

Mwendwa has now urged the teams to wait for next season and join the National Super League (NSL) but under the same conditions as the top league.

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“Now they have to wait until next year and join NSL but they should be aware that we also have sponsors in the lower tier so it will be difficult for them again, and division one also we have sponsors, so they will have to follow the law or stay out,” Mwendwa continued.

“The only option they have now is to come to NSL next season but they should know also in NSL they will be required to sign an endorsement [similar to that in the top-flight for sponsors], so I don’t know if they will be ready to sign it.”

Mwendwa has also revealed how FKF made repeated efforts to have the two teams endorse the document before they were finally suspended.

“We wrote to them for five weeks and asked them to sign the endorsement, the sponsor is waiting and also reminded them if they keep delaying the sponsor will walk away and the other teams that have signed will continue to suffer [without money], but they refused.

“Every week, we wrote them letters, every week we talked to the clubs, every week we sent emissaries to talk to them but they refused and stood the ground saying they cannot sign the endorsement, we don’t want StarTimes to show our matches.

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“It is good to know that FKF Premier League is not for one club but for many clubs, the league belongs to FKF and the constitution states clearly the league belongs to FKF and is planned by FKF and not for one club, and the constitution says the rights are for FKF and for all members and how to spend the sponsorship it is the prerogative of the National Executive Committee of FKF to decide.”

Mwendwa continued: “NEC are the ones to put regulations, on how have we used the sponsorship, NEC sat in 2018 and said all the rights are for FKF and sold by FKF and NEC will decide how the money will be shared.

“For five weeks we wrote to Mathare United and Zoo we even asked them what is your problem, they said they want to see the sponsorship, we gave it to them and they read through and said it is okay, they asked how much will we get, we gave them everything.

“Every week we kept asking them when are you signing, then it reached match day one we told them we will postpone their matches as you decide, we entered match day two, and they had not signed yet and we postponed their matches again.

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“When it reached match day three, we did not have any options, we called for NEC meeting to discuss the way forward now that the clubs had refused to sign and they were wasting our time and also spoiling sponsorship for other clubs and we decided to axe them.”

The suspension of the two teams means the Kenyan league will now feature 16 teams.

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