The Sports Disputes Tribunal on Tuesday ordered Football Kenya Federation and the Kenyan Premier League to form a Joint Executive Committee to discuss the merits, modalities and mechanism of expanding the league from 16 to 18 teams for the 2017 season.
While making the ruling, the Tribunal chairman John Ohaga gave the two parties up to January 17 to report their findings.
The ruling in essence throws the back the ball to the court of the two protagonists to go to a round-table meeting to thrash out the finer detail of an expanded league.
At the same time, the tribunal threw out requests for a permanent injunction by KPL restraining the federation from discussing or implementing an expanded league.
“The prayer for a permanent injunction restraining the respondents from contemplating, discussing or implementing any decision to expand the Kenyan Premier League is dismissed,” Ohaga said.
The tribunal also issued a permanent injunction restraining the federation from interfering with KPL from managing the top-tier league.
“A permanent injunction is issued restraining the respondents from otherwise interfering with the petitioner’s right to manage the Kenyan Premier League during the currency of the Agreement dated 24th September, 2015,” Ohaga said.
FKF has been rooting for an expanded league of 18 teams while KPL has been adamant on maintaining the 16-team format.
The Tribunal’s directive come barely 24 hours after FKF relegated Thika United, Sofapaka and Muhoroni Youth for non-compliance of Caf Club Licensing rules.
HAILED THE RULING
FKF president Nick Mwendwa hailed the ruling adding that they have been vindicated.
“The tribunal is clear that KPL is an agent of the federation and what we can do is discuss the modalities. We are happy with the ruling because it restores the role of the federation. We will abide by it and KPL has to abide by it,” he said.
“We are now discussing not whether it is 18 but the modalities but we also still have another process which is going on (Caf- Cub Licensing) and it is clear that we are going to have a 15-team league,” Mwendwa said.
KPL CEO Jack Oguda did not respond to our queries but KPL Chairman James Musyoki said: “I’m out of Nairobi and I’ve not heard the ruling. I however believe in the rule of law and we will abide by it.”