Journalist sues football body over resumption
A football stakeholder has petitioned the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) to indefinitely suspend the second and third-tier football leagues in the country on safety grounds.
In a petition seen by Nairobi News, Francis Ngira Okello says he is acting in the interest of the public.
He further argues that these two competitions, which are officially referred to as the National Super League (NSL) and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Division one respectively, will, in their current state, expose footballers, referees, and coaches to contracting Covid-19.
The NSL and Division one league are sponsored by betting firms Betika and BetKing respectively.
The journalist and blogger has sued FKF, the Attorney-General, alongside the Sports and Health Cabinet Secretaries.
He has asked the SDT, which is chaired by John Ohaga, ‘to declare as illegal the resumption of the lower leagues’ in the country considering the government is yet to officially give a go-ahead for the competitions to commence.
He’s also asked the Tribunal to declared the resumption of these competitions to be in violation of the Covid-19 safety rules that were released by the government.
Okello has also asked the sports court to arrest and charge FKF president Nick Mwendwa and Chief Executive Barry Otieno with violating Covid-19 rules.
This court case comes barely a week after Otieno confirmed players in the lower-tier leagues had neither been tested for Covid-19 nor vaccinated in line with the return of sports regulations released by the Ministry of Sports.
“The cost of testing a player is expensive, and we are appealing to the government to chip in and accelerate the vaccination of all players,” said Otieno.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed also warned last week that the government will not hesitate to shut down sporting activities in the country for the third time in less than a year if there is a spike in positive Covid-19 cases.
She said: ” We do not need any spike in Covid-19 infections as a result of sports activities because when there is a spike, we will have to be much more stringent than we are. So everyone should stick to the protocols to make sure that we are not overstepping.”
The matter has been certified as urgent.