Mwendwa’s decision to declare Gor Mahia champions unchallenged as SDT dismisses Kenya Premier League petition

Author: Robin Toskin
AfricaPress-Kenya: Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) on Tuesday afternoon ruled that Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa has no power to decide league matters as the decision is vested in a National Executive Committee.

Nick Mwendwa, as the only existing member of the National Executive Committee of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), has no powers to declare Gor Mahia champions.

This even as the Sports Disputes Tribunal dismissed the Kenyan Premier League (KPL)  petition as not having been sanctioned.

Given that, the SDT declined to award KPL Ltd the damages sought.

The ruling, especially on Mwendwa’s tweet on April 30, 2020 declaring Gor Mahia KPL KPL champions, promoting Nairobi City Stars and Bidco United means it carries no legal effect on the status of the leagues.

“We reiterate the ruling on September 1 that FKF President and FKF are not synonymous. The FKF president has no authority to make the decision on behalf of FKF. In essence, the current  FKF president is a King without the crown,” SDT chair John Ohaga said.

The decision now leaves the football season in limbo as there is no FKF National Executive Committee which is bestowed on the organ.

FKF football rules and regulations Article 2.3.1 on Playing Season states: “The FKF National Executive Committee shall annually set the opening and closing dates for all FKF Leagues  or Competitions.”

KPL had gone to court to ask whether the FKF president Mwendwa acted within the law to declare Gor Mahia champions, relegate and promote other teams.

The announcement technically also relegated Chemelil Sugar, Sony Sugar who had already been ejected early in the season and left Kisumu All Stars in a play-off position with a third-placed National Super League team.

KPL had also sought the SDT to find that Mwendwa had subverted the law and an existing MOU that vested the control of the top tier competition on the league body.

KPL argued also that their MOU with FKF gave them the exclusive mandate of running the league until September 24. Besides, KPL insisted, FKF president who is the only remaining NEC member cannot purport to make decisions that require the entire executive.

FKF (read Mwendwa) maintained they had to take the decision given the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and that the Confederation of African Football wanted a list of Kenya’s representatives for continental assignments.

However, with the Petition now dismissed, it will be left to the KPL Governing Council to determine the next course of action.

KPL hopes now hinge on an SDT ruling on September 1, 2020 where the Sports Tribunal found that Mwendwa had no authority to exercise powers vested in other bodies of the FKF, including the National Executive Committee and the General Assembly.

FACT BOX

SDT Ruling on September 1 on powers of FKF president enjoying temporary incumbency

We note that the construction of the FKF Constitution does not provide for the President to solely undertake meetings through his own motion and the same must be either through General or Special Meetings or those spearheaded by committees in undertaking their designated tasks under the Constitution and the same is subject to the requisite constituent members. This therefore requires a NEC to be in place.

The President therefore is bound by the FKF Constitution and therefore can only operate in the interests of FKF within the limits of the office considering the assumed status pertained in Art. 43 (2).

Being the existing member of NEC still sitting at their appointed seat, the President’s powers are limited to the extent of those activities that the office can undertake as FKF.

In conjunction with the office of the General Secretary as highlighted in Articles 62 and 63, the Respondents cannot subvert the directions of the Tribunal or the FKF Constitution which requires certain thresholds as to membership of the Bodies of FKF to be met in order for proper management and administration and decision making of FKF to ensue.

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