Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards have been suspended by their title sponsor betting firm Sportpesa following hooliganism that marred the two teams in recent two matches.
Sporpesa CEO Ronald Karauri said that the betting firm will only reinstate the sponsorship once it is satisfied that the vice is dealt with.
“When we started the Sponsorship we were assured by both teams that hooliganism was under control but it looks like that it’s still something that is really out of control of the teams”
“We firmly believe that all these hooligans are known to the teams all these fans are known to the teams and therefore the teams must be held responsible”
“We will not sit back and watch as our brand turnished.It’s unfortunate that some teams feel they are above the law,” said Karauri.
At the same time Football Kenya Federation through President Nick Mwendwa announced tough new rules to curb hooliganism and On-Pitch violence.
The new rules will see a player or team official who cause trouble or incite fans leading to crowd trouble, match disruption or abandonment will be banned from four matches and incur a fine of Kshs 20,000 for the first offence while a repeat of the same will lead to a ban for 365 days.
The rules also has it that a player or team official who attacks or attempts to attack a match official will also be suspended for 365 days.
The team that the player plays for will be liable for any and all damages caused to the match official(s) by losing the match on a 2-0, three point basis and 6 points for a repeat of the same and will play its next home match in an empty stadium.
While a repeat of the offence for a third time will see into the relegation of the team to a lower league with a fine of Kshs 500,000.
That a spectator who causes a fight or incites crowd violence will be banned from attending all football matches in the country.
It will be the responsibility of the team that he/she supports to ensure that the spectator is denied entry.
Failure to enforce these rules the Federation will take appropriate action against the club. This action could be a fine, playing home matches in empty stadiums or deduction of points.
Meanwhile an independent Committee involving key stakeholders will be formed to handle all matches involving Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards SC and that the two clubs will no longer appoint security stewards for their matches
On the 16th of April 2016 the match pitting Tusker FC against Gor Mahia at Nyayo Stadium was nearly disrupted after the referee awarded Tusker a penalty. Gor Mahia goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch incited the fans by pushing one of the assistant referees.
The fans reacted by throwing stones at the match officials. Afterwards, a fan attacked the referee in the full glare of the media.
On April 24, 2016, a match between AFC Leopards and Ulinzi Stars was abandoned in the 80th minute following crowd trouble. This happened after AFC Leopards fans refused for a penalty to be taken by Ulinzi Stars. During that incident match officials were also attacked by fans.
It was noted that the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) has already instituted judicial proceedings against Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards SC in relation to recent cases of crowd violence and match abandonment. It was agreed that the KPL will furnish FKF with the findings and action taken by Tuesday 3rd May 2016.