The six clubs petitioning for the suspension of the Kenyan Premier League have been cautioned against giving this weekend’s matches a wide berth as they will be treated as walkovers.
The financially crippled outfits have threatened to pull out of the competition in protest for lack of a title sponsor which have seen them start life in the 2019-2020 season without an assurance of monthly grants.
The six are Sony Sugar, Kisumu All-Stars, Chemelil Sugar, Mathare United, Nzoia Sugar and Kariobangi Sharks. Kakamega Homeboyz are understood to be the pioneers of the move.
Barely five rounds into the season, KPL has found itself in a financial conundrum following the exit of SportPesa who initially bankrolled them to a tune of approximately Sh87 million per annum.
SportPesa’s exit has hit several clubs hard and they are now demanding for the adjournment of the league to give KPL time to search for a new title sponsor. Last season, KPL used to channel approximately Sh300,000 monthly grants to clubs.
KPL has, in turn, hit back to the clubs warning them of a looming relegation to the National Super League should they fail to honour three matches. Sony Sugar gave a walkover to AFC Leopards in their last match at their backyard in Awendo.
“The clubs which have written to us asking for the halting of the league have no choice but to honour their weekend matches. If they do not play their matches, we will assume they have given walkovers and should the trend persist for three rounds, the law will take its fine course,” said KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda.
“The league has to continue as scheduled and we ask the clubs to put their houses in order. We are mandated to organize and run the league and it’s upon the club to bear the financial costs. What we normally do is to supplement their efforts,” he added.
On Wednesday, the head of marketing at the organization, Elly Kalekwa insisted that the league will run as planned.
Kalekwa, who doubles up as Sofapaka President, questioned the viability of the club licensing statutes introduced in 2016 which demanded outfits to outline their worth and their sources of revenue, and their ability to sustain their operations in the top league.
“The league will roll as planned despite the financial hardships.No sponsor will come on board in the future if they learn that it can be stopped indefinitely.”