Gor Mahia will have to wait longer before bringing down their beer drinking horns and drums to celebrate a record-extending Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title.
This is after the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) on Tuesday extended interim orders staying the decision by Football Kenya Federation’s boss (FKF) Nick Mwendwa to declare K’Ogalo KPL champions via a tweet on April 30.
The SDT also ruled that the KPL and Chemelil Sugar petition will now go to full hearing after FKF had initially objected to it on the basis the Tribunal lacked the standing to entertain the case.
An application for joinder of Kakamega Homeboys FC was also struck out with no order as to costs after it was found to have been drawn up by an unqualified person.
However, the SDT ruled: “The preliminary objection by the 1st (Mwendwa), 2nd (Barry Otieno) and 3rd Respondents (FKF) and the Interested Parties is hereby disallowed with costs.”
Ruling added: “The interim orders staying the impugned decision are hereby extended.”
FKF had also sought to have the petition dismissed on the basis that there was no meeting of the KPL Governing Council giving the KPL secretariat the authority to seek legal address.
Mwendwa, citing impracticability of concluding the leagues due to the Government ban on gatherings occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, terminated all competitions on April 30 thus drawing the ire of the Kenyan Premier League Limited, which insists it has the mandate to run FKF’s top-tier competition until September 24.
The FKF decision also meant Chemelil Sugar, sitting at position 17 in the 18-team league, were automatically relegated alongside Sony Sugar – relegated earlier in the season for failing to honour three league fixtures.
Together with the KPL and Kakamega Homeboyz, Chemelil Sugar moved the SDT to set aside the FKF decisions arguing Mwendwa and Barry Otieno (FKF CEO) had unlawfully declared Gor Mahia the Kenyan champions for the 2019/2020 season without veto powers to make such decision.
Chemelil Sugar contends that, “the decision (to end the season) has had an adverse effect on Chemelil Sugar since the club has been unlawfully and unfairly been relegated to the National Super League.”
The SDT ruling now sets the stage for a full hearing where the KPL seeks to have FKF stopped from interfering in their running of the league.
In the petition filed at the SDT, KPL maintains, that “the unlawful decision by Mwendwa contravenes the 2015 FKF-KPL Agreement Terms, which provides that the 1st 2nd and 3rd (Mwendwa, Otieno and FKF) shall ensure that the KPL exercise her exclusive, full and unhindered right to run, organise and manage the Kenyan Premier League in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of KPL, FKF, Caf and Fifa without the interference in light of the SDT 41 of 2016 decision, SDT No 3 and 5 of 202 together with the valid and subsisting 2015 FKF-KPL agreement.”
The KPL also maintains that Mwendwa has no powers to make such decisions, instead it is the FKF National Executive Council that is empowered to do so as enshrined in the federation’s constitution.