Kenya risks suspension if it delays FKF elections, warns FIFA


FIFA has warned Kenya that it could be suspended from the Africa World Championship Qualification Stage if the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) fails to hold its general elections within the required timeframe.

The federation’s CEO, Barry Otieno, relayed this message, instructing the FKF to proceed with its annual general meeting (AGM) despite a court order in Mombasa calling for its postponement until a hearing takes place.

Originally scheduled for March 16, 2024, the AGM was delayed due to a lawsuit by sports journalist Milton Nyakundi, who contested the legitimacy of the FKF’s top officials to convene the meeting. Justice Olga Sewe halted the event until further legal actions were taken, leaving everything in a state of uncertainty.

FIFA chief member associations officer Kenny Jean-Marie. PHOTO: FIFA

In response, Kenny Jean-Marie, FIFA’s Chief Member Associations Officer, communicated a caution against involving regular courts in football matters and directed the federation to proceed with the AGM despite the injunction.

“In this regard, we would like to draw your attention to Article 69 of the FKF statutes, which states that ‘Disputes within the [FKF] or affecting leagues, members of leagues, clubs, members of clubs, players, officials, and other [FKF] officials shall not be submitted to ordinary courts unless the FIFA regulations, [the FKF statutes], or binding legal provisions specifically provide for or stipulate recourse to ordinary courts.

“The violation of the FIFA and CAF Statutes may lead to grounds for suspending the FKF, regardless of whether the violation was attributed to the FKF or not’,” part of Jean-Marie’s statement read.

“In light of the above, the FKF is instructed to hold its annual general meeting soon and continue working towards conducting the FKF elections scheduled for this year,” FIFA directed through Marie.

This communication has put the FKF in a precarious position, highlighting the complex interplay between national legal frameworks and FIFA’s regulations. The federation now faces a dilemma in navigating conflicting directives from the world governing body and the national government.

FIFA’s full letter:

We refer to your letter dated March 16, 2024, and to the order of the Mombasa High Court dated March 15, 2024, regarding the temporary suspension of the Annual General Meeting of the FKF, which was originally planned for March 16, 2024.We are deeply concerned about the postponement of the FKF Annual General Meeting due to a court order issued less than 24 hours before the meeting was set to begin. Despite the preparations made by the FKF and the presence of delegates who traveled from all over the country to attend, this order was issued. It is worth noting that a FIFA delegation was also in Nairobi to observe the meeting. The court order mentions a hearing that was supposed to take place on March 18, 2024.

We would like to draw your attention to Article 69 of the FKF Statutes, which explicitly states that disputes within the FKF should not be taken to ordinary courts, unless FIFA regulations, the FKF statutes, or binding legal provisions specifically allow it.

This article aligns with FIFA’s and CAF’s core principle of prohibiting the use of ordinary courts, unless explicitly permitted by FIFA regulations or binding legal provisions (see Article 58, paragraphs 2 and 3 of the FIFA Statutes, May 2022 edition). FIFA and CAF take this principle seriously and believe that it is the responsibility of member associations, including the FKF, to ensure its implementation and make it binding on their members.

We would also like to emphasize that a violation of this obligation by the FKF or its members may result in sanctions, including potential suspension, as provided for in the FIFA Statutes.

Furthermore, it appears that the order from the Mombasa High Court on March 15, 2024, could be seen as undue influence by third parties, which would be considered a violation of Article 19, paragraph 1 of the FIFA Statutes, and Article 7, paragraph 1.g. of the CAF Statutes.

Therefore, regardless of the outcome of the hearing on March 18, 2024, FIFA believes that any further attempt by a third party to prevent the FKF Annual General Meeting from taking place would be regarded as a violation of the aforementioned principle. In such a case, we would bring the matter to the attention of the relevant FIFA bodies for consideration of possible sanctions in accordance with the FIFA Statutes.

It should be clear that the infringement of the aforementioned provisions of the FIFA and CAF Statutes may lead to the suspension of the FKF, regardless of whether the infringement was attributed to the FKF or not.Finally, we would like to remind you that a suspended member association may not exercise any of its membership rights. Additionally, other member associations may not engage in sporting contact with a suspended member association. The disciplinary committee may impose further sanctions (cf. Art. 16 par. 3 of the FIFA Statutes). A suspended member association loses all its membership rights, as defined in art. 13 of the FIFA Statutes, with immediate effect until further notice. Furthermore, the representative teams and affiliated clubs of this federation can no longer participate in international competitions until the suspension has been lifted.

Considering the points mentioned above, the FKF is directed to promptly conduct its Annual General Meeting and continue working towards organizing the FKF elections scheduled for this year.

Thank you for taking note of the above information, and we kindly request you to keep us informed about further developments in this matter.

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