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Alarm as umpires go unpaid with KPL, FKF blaming each other

James Magayi @magayijim

A serious management lapse by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and Kenyan Premier League (KPL) is causing jitters as top-flight match officials remain unpaid six rounds into the season.

Clubs that have suffered consequences of suspect officiating as a result of this impasse by the federation and the league organisers have raised alarm even as FKF and KPL both absolve themselves from blame.

A referee manning a KPL match is entitled to match fees and allowances totaling Sh9,000 while assistant referees pocket Sh7,000. The whistle blowers have silently gone about their business on the promise that ‘things will be sorted’ but the bickering between KPL and FKF indicates otherwise.

League administrator Michael Kirwa deflected questions on referees to FKF whose vice president Doris Petra also rebutted. “Any issue regarding referees fall at the doorstep of FKF so any questions to me are directed at the wrong person,” Kirwa told People Sport.

FKF wrestled back from KPL the training and assignment role of referees at the start of 2017 but the league body paid referee fees and allowances throughout the 2017 season. KPL seem to have relinquished the payment of match fees as well but the two bodies have not communicated over the same leading to the current impasse.

“What has changed and when did the changes take place?,” Petra sounded surprised about KPL’s stance. “If at all KPL is unable to foot the referees’ costs they should communicate. They have a budget for it and should sort out the matter swiftly.

The integrity of this league is in question as a result of not paying referees because anyone can take advantage of the situation and compromise somebody to alter the course of a match,” she added.

“We took over the training and assignment of referees but KPL have been paying referees assigned to their matches. We pay match officials in National Super League, Women’s Premier League and others. KPL should meet their obligations,” said Petra.

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