A head of 2020/21 Football Kenya Federation ,FKF, Premier league kick off this Friday,a storm is brewing between football governing council, FKF and a host of top tier clubs over the sponsorship terms from the league’s title sponsors betting firm BETKING and broadcast rights holders pay tv Startimes .
Last week the federation announced the formation of Premier League Management Committee (PMC) that will oversee the running of the new league saying the move was necessitated by the need to maintain the league’s independence and safeguard the interests of all participating clubs.
But Rachier, at the helm of Gor Mahia since 2008, and a long serving Football administrator faulted the decision and called upon FKF President Nick Mwendwa to consult widely before making crucial decisions.
In September this year the FKF announced an agreement with Chinese pay Tv StarTimes as the broadcast partners whereby they are charged with beaming live Kenyan Premier League, National Super League and national teams matches in a seven year deal worth Sh119.3mn (1.1mn USD) per year.
This meant clubs were to get Sh8 million a season from Betking and StarTimes was to top up the amount to at least Sh12 million per season.
This move elicited mixed reactions from football stakeholders with some questioning the deal.
Rachier probed the legality of the agreement and he is among the few club Chairme yet to sign the deal.
“What is at stake at the moment is we have a President who is reluctant to consult and have a say from everyone.He is trying to divide and rule but the position is clear,while the federation has all the rights to run the league under the FIFA statutes,they have our full support of me as a person and the club I chair Kogalo.They should pay us and we will allow them show our matches on TV”
Mwendwa has threatened to relegate record league champions Gor Mahia to the second tier league if club officials do not sign an undertaking with the FKF Premier League recognising StarTimes as the official broadcast sponsor.
Others on the spot are 2008 KPL Champions Mathare United,2010 league winners Ulinzi Stars and Kericho-based Zoo FC.
“Our point of departure and what I find is the unnecessary strife . These funds belong to the clubs and each and every team has to a agree before ceding their right to any 3rd party it can’t be obtained through coercison, threats and intimidation. Trying to subdue anybody wont bear fruits. The federation has got no authority to relegate Gor Mahia it lacks power to do so” Rachier added.
The 2020-21 FKF Premier League is set to kick off on Saturday with eight matches lined up on match day one which will also see a total of three matches screened live by FKF partners Startimes.
The Gor Mahia vs Tusker opener has been postponed as the champions will be involved in the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League, where they are scheduled to face Armee Patriotique Rwandaise FC (APR) of Rwanda on November 28 in Kigali.