By Olivia Mungwana
Kenya has been suspended indefinitely from all soccer events by Fifa, effective immediately.
While announcing the decision at a virtual Fifa Council Press Council in Zurich, Fifa president Gianni Infantino blamed the move on meddling by Kenyan authorities.
“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,” he said.
The move comes after Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed disbanded the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) in November last year.
She made the decision after ordering a complete assessment of the sports organization, citing allegations of corruption against federation executives.
FKF was replaced with a Caretaker Committee, which is responsible for running football events in line accordance with the federation’s constitution, among other things.
She then named retired Justice Aaron Ringera as the caretaker committee’s chairman, and journalist Lindah Oguttu as the secretariat’s head.
After the federation was disbanded, Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura appealed to Kenyan officials two times, requesting that the government, at least, re-establish the body’s secretariat while they search for an alternative.
Prior to leaving down, FKF president Nick Mwendwa was detained twice and accused of graft.
However, Fifa quickly denounced the decision to abolish FKF, threatening a ban. In a series of correspondences, the Zurich-based organization demanded that the government reinstall FKF while also extending the lines of communication to resolve the standoff.
Kenya will be unable to field a team in any competitive tournament held outside of the country as a result of the suspension. Including the Men’s and women’s football teams.
Referees will also be restricted from overseas events, and no Kenyan player would be permitted to make a professional transfer while the suspension is in effect.