November 15 – The crisis enveloping Kenyan football has deepened further with the arrest of the federation’s president Nick Mwendwa.
Last week the Kenyan FA (FKF) was disbanded by the government totally against FIFA rules, prompting instant intervention by world football’s governing body. The move came just hours before Kenya was due to play Uganda in a World Cup qualifier though they had already been eliminated and cannot qualify for next year’s finals in Qatar.
FIFA has threatened to ban Kenya if the decision to disband Football Kenya Federation is not reversed but late last week Mwendwa (pictured) was picked up by police at a Nairobi hotel the day after the government set up a caretaker committee to run the body and investigate alleged financial irregularities during his tenure.
The reign of the 41-year-old Mwendwa, who has been FKF president since 2016, has been dogged by controversy and claims of impropriety.
Sports Minister Amina Mohamed announced the disbanding of the FKF after an official investigation found it had failed to account for funds received from the government and other sponsors. The money had apparently been given to the federation to prepare the national team for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.
Mohamed named a committee headed by a retired high court judge to run the federation’s affairs for an interim period of six months and said there would be a further probe that could lead to prosecutions.
However FIFA warned Kenya it risked a ban if the government did not reconsider what football’s world governing body branded an “abrupt” announcement.
It said the action was “undoubtedly contrary” to the principle that all FIFA member associations are required to manage their affairs independently and without any third-party influence.
“Should this be considered as undue government interference in the internal affairs of the FKF, it would lead to a ban imposed on the FKF by the competent FIFA body,” FIFA said. “In such a case, all of Kenyan football shall suffer the consequences.”
Mwendwa himself vowed to fight the government move and insisted there had been no wrongdoing.
“I am still… in charge of the FKF. We won’t accept the decision taken by the sports ministry,” he told a press conference on Thursday, the day before his arrest.
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