Statement by the Kenyan Premier League on SuperSport’s termination of the License Agreement:
On behalf of the KPL Executive Committee (ExCo), I confirm receiving earlier today an official letter from SuperSport’s Legal Advisor terminating the 2016-21 KPL-SuperSport License Agreement.
The main reason cited by SuperSport is “that the ruling by the SDT [Sports Disputes Tribunal] subordinates your [KPL] authority to run the Kenyan Premier League to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF)”.
KPL understands and sympathizes with SuperSport on that issue and even shares their concern. KPL has previously emphasized in its public statements and court petitions that since the FKF elections in February 2016 the biggest problem and threat to stability in Kenyan football has been the repeated failures of the new FKF officials to respect the rule of law and previous agreements and, in particular, the 2015-19 FKF-KPL Agreement signed on September 24, 2015.
The main bone of contention was the populist political campaign promise of the new FKF President to unilaterally increase the KPL from 16 to 18 teams. But the real issue was not league size but who decides league size. The FKF President’s determination to do so unilaterally was a blatant violation of the spirit and letter of the FKF-KPL Agreement.
On January 10, 2017, the SDT confirmed that the FKF-KPL Agreement was valid and legally binding on both parties. The SDT also specifically confirmed that “a court of law cannot re-write a contract between the parties”.
However, the SDT then proceeded to issue additional orders which appeared contradicted the Agreement it had declared as valid. Moreover, the additional and subsequent SDT decisions and orders were based on the false premise that the FIFA Statutes endowed FKF with the sole authority of determining the size of the league. The SDT then launched a process to change the Agreement during which the legitimate concerns and many objections of KPL were largely ignored.
Although not in agreement with those orders, KPL was legally obliged to implement them and was even threatened by the SDT if it failed to do so. Yet, even after the SDT confirmed the validity of the Agreement, FKF still continued to repeatedly ignore and violate the Agreement with evident impunity. KPL recently brought all those violations to the attention of the SDT and the SDT is yet to take action.
In sum, KPL and SuperSport share the same concerns. It’s a sad day when a populist political campaign promise without any significant professional merits becomes a main reason for undermining and possibly destroying KPL which, with the support of SuperSport over the last decade, is one of the true success stories in Kenyan and African football over the last 15 years.
The KPL ExCo will hold an emergency meeting on Monday morning to review the new and sad situation and hopefully start charting a new way forward.
Jack Oguda, Chief Executive Officer, Kenyan Premier League