FKF Premier League: Gor Mahia & AFC Leopards revolt against unsanctioned Fifa competition

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AFC Leopards 2022.
AFC Leopards.
The teams unanimously said they would only participate in a competition recognized by the world governing body

Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards have led other clubs to reject the Football Kenya Federation Premier League kick-off under the transition committee.

This is a new development that is set to delay the start of the 2022/23 season that was planned to begin on September 24. Initially, the Premier League was scheduled to kick off on September 10 before the transition committee amended the plan and pushed the date to late September.

On Wednesday, Gor Mahia’s CEO, Raymond Oruo, and his Leopards counterpart Victor Bwibo, attended a meeting at a Nairobi hotel where they unanimously declared their clubs are only going to participate in a league that is recognized by Fifa.

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Patrick Korir of Nairobi City Stars, Mathare United’s Jecktone Obure, and Linda Ambiyo of Kariobangi Sharks were the other club officials who attended the meeting.

Kenya is under a Fifa suspension since the Ministry of Sports disbanded the FKF National Executive Committee and formed an alternative body to run matters in the country.

"We have unanimously resolved as Kenyan Premier League clubs that the teams will not take part in any competition that is not recognized by the world governing body, Fifa, because it is a waste of investment and time and very little returns come through," a joint statement read by Oruo said.

"What we are saying is that the 18 clubs of the Premier League have decided that we will only play the 2022/23 season in a properly sanctioned Fifa league because that is the only way our teams and players are going to benefit.

On his part, Korir explained what prompted their decision: "The truth of the matter is that we, as clubs, have been preparing for next season," he stated.

"We have been given several kick-off dates and we will probably be given several more kick-off dates. We have no idea by whom...that is not for us to say.

"The day a Fifa-sanctioned league will kick off, we will all be ready, and we will get to the pitch to honour the fixtures."

In an earlier interview, Gor Mahia chair Ambrose Rachier called for the formation of the normalization committee as a way out of the current quagmire.

"There's no need to play football with the Fifa ban, we will be going nowhere," Rachier said.

"I would like whatever it takes to get the Fifa ban lifted done; in other words, try to comply with the Fifa requirements, whether by appointing a normalisation committee or reinstating the previous federation."