KPL Provides Facts in Gor Saga
KPL has provided facts relating to their relationship with relegated Gor Mahia. The club is desperatelt trying to come back to the premier league but the KPL have stuck to their guns and will not tolerate any more heckling by club officials.
It should be clear that Gor Mahia are pursuing this sudden interest after nearly four months of ignoring calls by the KPL to negotiate. Joining them in the heckling scenario is KFF secretary general Dan Omino and assistant minister Joel Onyancha. Onyancha made his maiden appearance in the sports arena by "ordering" KPL to reinstate Gor Mahia.
KEY EVENTS AND FACTS
KENYAN PREMIER LEAGUE LTD (KPL) AND GOR MAHIA
1. On October 31, 2003 the Kenyan Premier Football Group Ltd (later renamed "Kenyan Premier Football League Ltd") was legally registered and incorporated under the Companies Act (Cap. 486) of Kenya. The company is jointly owned by the Premier league clubs who all have equal shares and votes. The Kenya Football Coaches Association (KEFOCA) and Kenya Football Refe-rees Association (KEFORA) are non-voting associate members. Gor Mahia was one of the founding member clubs, an original shareholder and a signatory of the KPL Memorandum and Articles of Association. Gor Mahia participated in the 2003-04 KPL Champions League and the 2003 and 2004 KPL Transparency Cup tournaments which were owned and managed by the company.
2. On December 20, 2003 Gor Mahia was the runner-up in the 2003 KPL Transparency Cup cham-pionship and received from KPL a cash award of Ksh 500,000, the largest amount ever received in the 35-year history of their club. Gor Mahia player Kenneth Omondi received from KPL a cash award of Ksh 10,000 as their "Best Player". Gor Mahia player Jackson Atika also received from KPL a cash award of Ksh 10,000 for "Best Fairplay".
3. On June 12, 2004 at the KPL Management Committee meeting, Gor Mahia Chairman Erastus Okul insisted on fielding Denis Oliech in their Transparency Cup quarterfinal match the next day. As Oliech was then still under contract with Al-Arabi FC in Qatar, the Gor Mahia Chairman was informed that fielding him without an International Transfer Certificate would be a serious violation of the FIFA, CAF, KFF and Transparency Cup rules and that his club would forfeit the match. The Gor Mahia Chairman became angry and stormed out of the meeting.
4. On June 13, 2004 Gor Mahia Chairman Erastus Okul insisted at the KPL Transparency Cup quarterfinal match on fielding Denis Oliech in the game and did so. In addition, with Thika United leading 3-2 in the 86th minute, Gor Mahia fans invaded the field shouting "Let's spoil this match" and proceeded to throw stones and other objects at the referees, Thika United players and police. When the Gor Mahia fans repeatedly refused to leave the field, the referee ended the match. In addition to several policemen, a 10-year old boy was seriously injured and had to be rushed to hospital by the Thika United club officials.
5. On June 18, 2004 Gor Mahia ignored and broke the FIFA and KFF statutes by applying to the High Court of Kenya in Nairobi for a Certificate of Urgency to stop the KPL Transparency Cup semifinal match the next day.
6. On June 19, 2004 Gor Mahia tried to stop the KPL Transparency Cup semifinal match that day by presenting to a KPL official a photocopy of their application to the High Court which they claimed was a legally valid court order to stop the match. The match proceeded.
7. On June 26, 2004 the KPL Management Committee met, confirmed that Gor Mahia had fielded Dennis Oliech as an ineligible player in the KPL Transparency Cup quarter-final match on June 13th and that the Gor Mahia fans had also caused the abandonment of that match and suspended Gor Mahia and Denis Oliech from the Transparency Cup tournament for two years.
8. In June 2004 at the end of the 2003-04 season, Gor Mahia had won only two games and finished in last place but avoided relegation when the KFF and Premier League clubs agreed to reconcile and form a "unified league" with 24 clubs playing in two groups with the last three clubs in each group to be relegated at the end of the 2004-05 season.
9. In June 2005 at the end of the 2004-05 season, Gor Mahia had won only six matches and ended among the three last clubs to be relegated in Group A. But on June 10th Gor Mahia Chairman Erastus Okul convened and chaired a meeting of the “KFF Premier League Committee” which re-jected a Kangemi United player’s card which he had himself signed on behalf of KFF as an acting KFF official earlier that year, declared the player ineligible and then deducted three points from Kangemi United. Kangemi then dropped just below Gor Mahia in the standings and was to be relegated instead of Gor Mahia. But a higher appeals body rejected and reversed that decision. Kangemi got their three points back and Gor Mahia was again relegated.
10. In August 2005 Nzoia FC dropped out of the league. The KPL clubs met and decided to change their previous decision not to replace clubs which dropped out. Instead the KPL clubs agreed to allow the two highest placed clubs which had been relegated in each group, Securicor and Gor Mahia, to play a special home/away playoff to determine which club would replace Nzoia for the 2005-06 season. But Gor Mahia refused to honour both playoff matches. As their club did report for both matches, Securicor rejoined the league and Gor Mahia remained relegated.
11. In September 2005 Pipeline FC dropped out of league. Despite the refusal of Gor Mahia to re-spect the rules and also honour their playoff matches, the KPL clubs still allowed Gor Mahia to replace Pipeline in the 2005-06 KPL Premier League.
12. From September 2005 to March 2006 Gor Mahia participated fully in the KPL Premier League and the bi-weekly meetings of the KPL Senior Management Committee, including the KPL meetings which established the Independent Disciplinary and Appeals Committee (IDAC) and the Independent Disciplinary and Appeals Board (IDAB) and appointed their members.
13. On February 21, 2006, following several serious incidents in which match officials were verbally and/or physically abused at KPL Premier league matches, IDAC met and approved a draft "KPL 'Zero Tolerance' Policy on Abandoned Matches and Assaults on Match Officials" for consideration and adoption at the next meeting of the KPL Senior Management Committee.
14. On February 23, 2006 the draft policy approved by IDAC was sent to all the KPL clubs as well as the Kenya Football Coaches Association (KEFOCA) and Kenya Football Referees Association (KEFORA) so their officials could review it before the KPL meeting.
15. On February 25, 2006 the draft policy was tabled for review and adoption at the KPL Senior Management Committee meeting. Gor Mahia was represented by their Secretary General, Dr. Andrew Suleh. After making several amendments, the meeting adopted the policy by consensus and agreed that it would come into force on Friday, March 3rd.
16. On February 27, 2005 the Record of Decisions with the approved policy as an annex was sent to all KPL members. Under the heading "For Followup Action By Clubs", the covering note stated: "Inform club officials and players on the new KPL 'zero tolerance' policy and penalties on aban-doned matches and assaults on match officials which will come into force next Friday, March 3rd". No objections or amendments were submitted by Gor Mahia or any other club.
17. On March 3, 2006 the approved policy came into force as agreed.
18. On the morning of March 11, 2006 Gor Mahia Secretary General Andrew Suleh attended the KPL Senior Management Committee meeting but did not raise any concerns about the Record of Decisions for the previous meeting or about the agreed policy annexed to that record.
19. On the afternoon of March 11, 2006 Gor Mahia fans invaded the playing field and chased and assaulted the referees after their loss to Kangemi United at City Stadium. That assault on the referees was shown on national television that evening and several times since then.
20. On March 12, 2006 the Record of Decisions of the KPL meeting the previous day was sent to all KPL members. Under the heading "For Followup Action By Clubs", the covering note again stated: "Inform club officials and players on the new KPL 'zero tolerance' policy and penalties on abandoned matches and assaults on match officials which came into force on Friday, March 3rd". No objections or amendments were submitted by Gor Mahia or any other club.
21. On March 13, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote to Gor Mahia Secretary General Andrew Suleh and drew his attention to Article 8 in the approved policy and reminded him that his club was required to provide the KPL with the names of all those involved in the assault by 5:00 p.m. on March 14th. In followup telephone calls to Dr. Suleh by KPL officials that morning, he stated that his executive group could not meet until after work on March 14th. Dr. Suleh agreed to write to KPL and request an extension of the deadline but he never did so.
22. On March 14, 2006 the Gor Mahia executive group met but did not identify or agree on disciplinary action against any of those who assaulted the referees.
23. On March 21, 2006 IDAC met and confirmed that Gor Mahia had violated the approved KPL pol-icy and applied the penalties specified in that policy. At the same meeting IDAC also dealt with another case submitted by Gor Mahia concerning the alleged fielding on an ineligible player by World Hope. IDAC also dealt with several other inci-dents involving the verbal and/or physical abuse of match officials which occurred before the new KPL policy came into force and decided on disciplinary action against Coast Stars and AFC Leopards and the offending club officials in accordance with the then prevailing rules.
24. On March 24, 2006 the KPL Managing Director sent the approved IDAC Record of Decisions to all KPL members.
25. On March 27, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote to Gor Mahia Secretary General Andrew Suleh and reminded him of the IDAC decision and that their club must either appeal the IDAC de-cision or pay the approved penalty by noon on March 31st.
26. On March 29, 2006 Gor Mahia Secretary General Andrew Suleh wrote to KPL and claimed that the KPL and IDAC decisions "were neither procedural nor constitutional" even though he had been among the club representatives who approved the KPL policy by consensus at the KPL meeting over a month earlier.
27. On March 30, 2006 the KPL Managing Director replied to the Gor Mahia Secretary General and cited the relevant facts and events and again reminded him that their club had to either appeal the IDAC decision or pay the penalty by noon on March 31st.
28. On March 31, 2006 Gor Mahia did not appeal the IDAC decision or pay the penalty. Instead, Gor Mahia Secretary General Andrew Suleh submitted a letter containing ten major points, including the concluding point and threat that "unless you reverse the decision to deduct our points on the basis of this policy which was never approved and append an apology (not chronology) to our club for dishonesty, we shall resort to any avenue at our disposal for redress which may include sponsoring a debate at the meeting to discuss your conduct."
29. On April 4, 2006 the KPL Managing Director sent a letter to the Gor Mahia Secretary General re-sponding in detail on all ten of the main points he had raised in his previous letter. The text of his reply had been reviewed and approved at the KPL National Executive Committee the previous day. Moreover, as Dr. Suleh repeatedly claimed that the KPL policy had not been approved at the KPL meeting on February 25th, annexed to the letter was a detailed summary on the evolution and adoption of the KPL policy which had been reviewed and confirmed by the representatives of eleven other clubs and KEFORA who had attended that meeting.
30. On April 11, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote again to the Gor Mahia Secretary General and informed him that if their club did not pay the agreed penalty by noon on April 17th then un-der the approved policy their club must play their match in an empty stadium. However, that match was postponed by KPL as the U20 international match between Kenya and Djibouti was suddenly scheduled by KFF for the same day.
31. On April 18, 2006, despite their club's refusal to recognize the authority of IDAC in the referees' assault case or to appeal against the IDAC decision on that case, Gor Mahia submitted an appeal to the Independent Disciplinary and Appeals Board (IDAB) on another case and IDAC decision concerning an alleged ineligible player fielded by World Hope.
32. During April 24-28, 2006 Gor Mahia Secretary General Andrew Suleh repeatedly promised KPL officials that he would pay at least part of the agreed penalty before their next match on April 30th and also provide a written commitment and timetable for paying the balance.
33. On April 29, 2006, instead of making a payment as he had promised, the Gor Mahia Secretary General submitted a letter to KPL that morning stating that their club could not pay the fine imme-diately and proposed instead that their club pay an initial Ksh 10,000 over a month later, another Ksh 10,000 on July 1st and a final payment of Ksh 15,000 on August 1st. In yet another sympathetic effort to assist Gor Mahia, later that day extensive consultations were held by telephone involving the Gor Mahia Secretary General and KPL National Executive Com-mittee members. It was agreed that the Gor Mahia representative at the pre-match meeting the next day would sign an official commitment to pay at least part of the penalty the following week and then the match could proceed with spectators.
The KPL Managing Director therefore wrote to the Match Commission with a copy to the Gor Ma-hia Secretary General which pointed out that although Dr. Suleh had repeatedly promised to pay the approved penalty he had still not done so. He informed the Match Commissioner that "the KPL National Executive Committee authorizes you as the Match Commissioner to allow the match to proceed with spectators only if Gor Mahia signs the attached commitment at the pre-match meeting. If the Gor Mahia officials refuse or fail to sign that commitment at the pre-match meeting then the match must be played in an empty stadium".
Based on the discussions with Dr. Suleh, the text included the following commitment: "Our club will pay all of the gross gate receipts for today's match or Ksh 10,000, whichever is lower, to the KPL by 12:00 noon on Tuesday, May 2nd as an initial good faith payment on the amount owed by our club in accordance with the KPL 'Zero Tolerance' Policy on Abandoned Matches and Assaults on Match Officials …. [and] will pay all of the gross gate receipts for all our future home matches or Ksh 10,000, whichever is lower, to the KPL within two working days after every home match until the outstanding cumulative balance is paid in full".
34. On April 30, 2006 the Gor Mahia Secretary General did not attend the pre-match meeting and the Gor Mahia officials who did attend refused to sign the commitment document. They also broke the approved policy again by refusing to play in an empty stadium. Although instructed by KPL to ensure the match was played in an empty stadium if Gor Mahia officials refused to sign the agreed commitment, the Match Commissioner feared that innocent lives would be put at risk and allowed the match to proceed. Although Gor Mahia lost by 0-2 goals, their club still forfeited the match. Gor Mahia reportedly collected over Ksh 38,000 in gate receipts which could have been used to clear their outstanding fine. But no payment of any amount was ever made.
35. After May 6, 2006 Gor Mahia boycotted all the KPL meetings.
36. On May 9, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote to Gor Mahia but, at the personal request of Gor Mahia Secretary General Andrew Suleh, addressed the letter to Gor Mahia Chairman Eras-tus Okul with a copy to Dr. Suleh and reminded them that if they did not pay the agreed penalty on May 10th then their club would forfeit their match scheduled for May 13th.
37. On May 10, 2006 Gor Mahia officials again ignored the previous letters and reminders and again violated the approved policy by failing to pay the agreed penalty and therefore forfeited the match scheduled for May 13th.
38. On May 11, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote again to the Gor Mahia Chairman and in-formed him that if the agreed penalty was not paid by May 18th then his club would forfeit their match on May 21st as well.
39. On May 15, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote to the Gor Mahia Chairman and again re-minded him that if the agreed penalty was not paid by May 18th then his club would forfeit their match on May 21st.
40. On May 17, 2006 a letter was delivered to the KPL office from a lawyer acting on behalf of "sev-eral members and officials of Gor Mahia Football Club" which threatened to take the KPL to court unless it rescinded its previous decisions and responded within 48 hours. That letter also contained a warning that fans "may disrupt further games".
41. On May 18, 2006 Gor Mahia officials again ignored the previous letters and reminders and again violated the approved policy by failing to pay the agreed penalty and therefore forfeited their match scheduled for May 21st.
42. On May 19, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote again to the Gor Mahia Chairman and in-formed him that if the agreed penalty was not paid by May 25th then his club would forfeit their match on May 28th.
43. On May 22, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote again to the Gor Mahia Chairman and informed them that if the agreed penalty was not paid by May 25th then his club would forfeit their match on May 28th.
44. On May 25, 2006 Gor Mahia officials again ignored the previous letters and reminders and again violated the approved policy by failing to pay the agreed penalty and therefore forfeited their match scheduled for May 28th.
45. On May 25, 2006 Gor Mahia members and officials ignored and violated the KFF and FIFA statutes by applying at the High Court in Nairobi for an injunction under a Certificate of Urgency to restrain the KPL clubs from organizing and playing any more matches.
46. On May 26, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote again to the Gor Mahia Chairman and in-formed him that if the agreed penalty was not paid by May 29th then his club would forfeit their match scheduled for June 1st. According to the security guards, that evening an unknown person entered Riadha House around 6:00 p.m. and pushed some papers under the KPL office door.
47. On May 29, 2006 a KPL staff member opened the KPL office and found the papers which had been pushed under the door the previous Friday evening. The document was a copy of the Gor Mahia application for a Certificate of Urgency submitted to the High Court at Nairobi on May 25th.
That day the KPL Managing Director received full payment of the Gor Mahia penalty from an anonymous "senior official of another KPL club" who wrote in an unsigned letter that "it is deeply disappointing that a few colleagues who are senior Gor Mahia officials refuse to respect the KPL policy against assaults on referees which their representative approved in February. Their refusal to respect the rules also saddens me because it is not those officials but their own players who are suffering the most after playing so well this year. Out of respect and sympathy for the Gor Mahia players, I enclose full payment of Ksh 45,063 so they can resume playing …"
48. On May 30, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote to the Gor Mahia Chairman that "the penalty for your club's violations of the KPL policy on assaults on match officials was paid yesterday by an anonymous senior official of another KPL club. The KPL National Executive Committee met late yesterday afternoon, accepted the payment … and authorized your club to resume playing, starting with your match with AFC Leopards on Thursday."
49. On May 31, 2006 the High Court did not grant the Certificate of Urgency requested by Gor Mahia.
50. On June 1, 2006 Gor Mahia failed to honour the national Madaraka Day match and also failed to submit a written explanation within 48 hours and therefore forfeited the match. Rule 3.5 (j) in the 1998 Rules of Kenyan Football states:
Rule 3.5 (j) - Start of Match: Matches must start exactly at the time set in the schedule and end in reasonable time. If a club fails to have at least seven registered players on the field at the exact time set in the schedule, the club will forfeit the match unless it provides in writing within 48 hours an explanation which is acceptable to the committee. A club which fails to provide a timely and satisfactory explanation will be required to compensate the other club for the travel and other expenses related directly to the match.
51. On June 4, 2006 Gor Mahia again failed to honour their second scheduled match and again failed to submit a written explanation within 48 hours and therefore forfeited that match as well.
52. On June 5, 2006 the KPL Managing Director wrote to Gor Mahia Secretary General Andrew Suleh and informed him that at "the Senior Management Committee last Saturday the members noted with disappointment that your club failed to honour the Madaraka Day match despite the recent KFF and KPL letters and, should your club fail to honour the match yesterday as well, authorized me to write and confirm their continuing commitment to apply the rules to all clubs equally and without exception, including Rule 2.4 on "Failure to Play Matches" in the Rules of Kenyan Football which states:
Rule 2.4 - Failure to Play Matches: A club which fails to honour three league matches in the same season without providing written explanations acceptable to the committee will be suspended for the rest of the season, will be relegated to a lower league for the next season and may face other disciplinary action."
IDAC also met that day and found that Securicor had violated the same policy and therefore applied the same penalties under that policy as were applied to Gor Mahia. Securicor paid the penalty immediately and continued playing.
53. On June 11, 2006 Gor Mahia ignored the rules and KPL letter on June 5th and failed to honour their third scheduled match in two weeks and again failed to submit a written explanation within 48 hours and therefore forfeited the match.
54. On June 13, 2006 the KFF Secretary General announced that KFF had suspended and rele-gated seven Nationwide League clubs for breaking exactly the same KFF Rule 2.4 as Gor Mahia. The suspended and relegated clubs were Vigiga United, Uzima, Kitale, Coast Boys, Amani Yassets, Victoria Yes and Undugu.
55. On June 14, 2006 the KPL Managing Director sent a letter to Gor Mahia Secretary General An-drew Suleh which emphasized that "as a final gesture your club is requested to provide to KPL and your fellow clubs a written explanation for your failure to honour the three matches before or at the KPL Senior Management Committee meeting this Saturday." The letter underlined that "if your club does not do so, then that will be considered as recognition by your club that it has repeatedly ignored and violated Rule 3.5 (j) and accepts the penalties specified in Rule 2.4" in the 1998 Rules of Kenyan Football.
56. On June 17, 2006 the KPL Senior Management Committee met and noted with disappointment that the Gor Mahia officials had not submitted a written explanation on their conduct and had not sent any representatives to the meeting. The KPL clubs then confirmed the automatic suspension and relegation of Gor Mahia for repeatedly breaking the KFF rules even after their club was allowed to resume playing. The remaining Gor Mahia matches were removed from the fixtures and awarded to the other clubs. The KPL clubs also "expressed their sympathy for the Gor Mahia players and fans who were let down by their own club officials who refused to respect the rules and to allow their team to take the field".
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