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FIFA now threatens Kenya with sanctions should FKF election matters end up in court

World soccer governing body is threatening to suspend Kenya shoulda Football Kenya Federation fail to ensure compliance to its own constitution and FIFA Statutes.

FIFA’s letter, dated 23 October 2019, was in response to correspondence from FKF acting CEO Barry Otieno.

“We refer to your letter dated 19 October 2019 by means of which you informed our service of an alleged third party interference in the affairs of the football Kenya Federation and more specifically its ongoing electoral process,” reads the opening paragraph of the letter from the Zurich-based organisation seen by Kurunzi, signed by Veron Mosengo-Omba, the acting chief member associations officer.

According to Mosengo-Omba, FIFA is concerned that “an appeal has been lodged a few days ago by an individual against the FKF before the High Court”.

Media reports have suggested an individual is headed to court to challenge the FKF elections, something that is yet to happen. The only judicial matter on the polls has been filed by Nyamira sub-branch chairman Jared Nyauma Ondieki and is set for hearing by a three-member panel led by SDT chairman John Ohaga.

“In particular, we note that a complainer has been recently filed by a local stakeholder against the FKF […] seeking to annul the adoption of the electoral code and the nomination of the electoral board both of which were, according to the official minutes you provided, approved unanimously by the FKF delegates present during the annual general meeting on 5 October 2019,” reads part of the letter.

“Should the High Court in Kenya render a decision that goes against the aforementioned principle, the matter will be brought to out he attention of the relevant FIFA bodies for consideration of suitable measures and sanctions in line with FIFA statutes.”

Veron Mosengo-Omba, acting chief member associations officer – FIFA

While the tone of the letter suggests FIFA has no issue with the matter before the SDT, the red flag of a possible petition in the “ordinary courts” is raising FIFA’s alarm in a manner that seems to suggest the federation would be failing in obligation should the election said matters end up in court.

“FIFA takes this principle with the utmost seriousness and therefore considers that’s its the responsibility of the member associations, including the FKF, to ensure that it is implemented at their level through a binding obligations on its members,” the letter points out in apparent reference to a federation official seeking judicial redress on the forthcoming elections.

“In this respect, we consider it of utmost importance importance to refer you to article of the FKF statutes […] in line with one of FIFA’s core principles, that is the prohibition of recourse to ordinnary courts…

“We wish to underline that a violation of this obligation by the FKF or its members may lead to sanction such as provided for in FIFA statutes.

In his application before the SDT, Nyauma contends that the electoral code violates the standard electoral code provided by FIFA and that the constitution of the polls board is improper.

An earlier petition, by Nyauma and several sub-branch officials, that sought to have the processing stopped for excluding sub-branches was dismissed by the tribunal but the issue may find its way in the new application, the applicant arguing a member of the SDT who was conflicted had sat on the bench without declaring her interest.

Elynah Sifuna-Shiveka, the vice chair of the SDT has been appointed to the FKF electoral board and has been excluded from being part of the proceedings.

The tribunal directed that although the board can proceed with receiving nominations from aspirants but such “nominations will not be valid until this matter is heard and determined”.

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