Fifa suspends Kenya, Zimbabwe over government interference

According to the FIFA Statutes published in 2018, each member association is responsible towards FIFA for any acts of the members of their bodies.

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The Kenya National football team, the Harambee Stars lining up before taking on Uganda in a 2022 World Cup qualification game. COURTESY/FILE PHOTO

Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) has suspend Football Kenya Federation with immediate effect, citing interference by the government.

In a statement released at the FIFA Council meeting in Zurich on Thursday, President Gianni Infantino also confirmed the Zimbabwe Football Association has also been suspended due to the same.

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“Without prejudice to any investigations by national authorities or other judicial bodies, the FIFA Council also decided to suspend the Football Kenya Federation and the Zimbabwe Football Association with immediate effect due to undue interference by a third party,” said Infantino. 

Undoubtedly, a suspension was imminent following the recent communication by the World football governing body in November last year, where Chief Member Associations Officer Kenny Jean-Marie threatened to ban Kenya from football-related activities.

However, Jean-Marie said FIFA was willing to hold a meeting with FKF officials and the Ministry of Sports to address concerns.

According to the FIFA Statutes published in 2018, each member association is responsible towards FIFA for any acts of the members of their bodies.

“As a matter of fact, we deem fit to highlight that all FIFA member associations are statutorily required to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence of any third parties. Any failure to these obligations may lead to sanctions provided for in the FIFA Statuses, even if the third-party influence was not the fault of the member association concerned,” read a statement from FIFA in part.

The Genesis:

Cabinet Secretary (CS) Amina Mohamed dissolved the FKF executive by suspending its president Nick Mwendwa, CEO Barry Otieno and other officials on November 11, 2021, over allegations of misappropriation of funds.

She formed a Caretaker Committee to help in operations at the football body. But FIFA issued a warning in regards to her decision
“It is up to FIFA alone, on the basis of serious and well-founded information as well as under exceptional circumstances, to order the dismissal of executive bodies of member associations followed by the appointment of a normalization committee,” the statement read in part.

FIFA also opened room for a meeting with the embattled federation officials and Sports Ministry to address concerns raised by the parties. FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura further asked the Sports CS to reinstate all suspended FKF officials in a succeeding communique addressed to her on November 14.

“I must highlight that the appointment of the so-called “caretaker committee” by your office is undoubtedly contrary to our principles according to which all of our member associations, including FKF, are required to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence of any third parties,” part of the letter read.

“The situation could, therefore, potentially lead to a suspension of the FKF by Fifa and in such a case, it would be all of Kenyan football that would suffer the consequences.” (Additional report by The Standard)

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