With a planned peaceful protest by Kenyan Premier League (KPL) players and club officials over lack of promised government support after the withdrawal of sponsorships from betting companies, the organisers of the league has blamed Football Kenya Federation (FKF) for the mess.
KPL who run the top tier league faulted FKF for having double standards during their scrutinisation of the top-flight teams and hence the emergence of the financial difficulties a section of the teams are currently experiencing at the moment that has seen some clubs go for three months without paying their players.
Some of the hard-hit teams in the league include Nakumatt FC who have been even contemplating selling the club as travelling costs and players’ salaries increasingly become a burden.
Others are Zoo Kericho, AFC Leopards, Mathare United, Nzoia Sugar, Chemelil Sugar, Sony Sugar and Bandari whose players have complained of delayed salary payments.
“Last year when the league was starting, FKF demanded that all the teams in the top league present their budget for the whole season and show proof of bank statements on how they were capable of meeting the budget. So what has gone wrong this year?
Because if the requirements were genuine, the teams would not be unable to pay their players this early in the league,” said KPL Vice Chairman Elly Kalekwa (pictured).
He added: “Last year FKF tried to block three teams, Sofapaka, Thika United and Muhoroni Youth from taking part in the top league for claims that the teams did not have finances to guarantee smooth running of the club.
So was it not malice, because clearly 90 per cent of the teams don’t meet the club licensing criteria as it is being seen now.” Before betting company SportPesa and broadcast sponsor SuperSport pulled out their support for the league, each of the teams in the league used to get Sh600, 000 grants every month, which they have not been getting this season.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa who is with the national football team Harambee Stars in Morocco for a training camp, could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, Kalekwa who also doubles up as the KPL head of Sponsorships and Marketing said that talks with a new league sponsor was at an advanced level and promised that the league operations would soon be back to normalcy.
Although he did not mention the possible new sponsors, he confirmed that there were two key companies interested in the league sponsorship and that they were negotiating for best offers. “We are also keen on getting a broadcast sponsor who will be airing our matches.
StarTimes came up with a mouth-watering offer but we did not reach an agreement because of the conditions they had put in place. Talks with Bamba are still on, we have not closed the doors for anyone, we just want the best deal for the teams and to ensure that the players will be exposed,” Kalekwa said.