The world football governing body FIFA has expelled Zoo FC from the Kenyan Premier League over match fixing.
There were reports of rampant match fixing in the Kenyan top tier with The Nation running a series of articles between 2019 and 2020, atricles that revealed how the menace had infiltrated the Kenyan game.
Investigations by the Fifa Integrity Unit in the process found culpable and banned four Kakamega Homeboyz player, Moses Chikati, Festo Omukoto, Festus Okiring George Mandela for match manipulation.
FIFA furthered their investigations, summoning players and officials from various clubs among them Zoo FC which was first in line.
Chairman Ken Ochieng, former coach Sammy Okoth, current coach Herman Iswekha, former players Sammy Sindani, Vincent Misikhu, Martin Elungat and Johnstone Ligare were consequently summoned by FIFA and availed themselves at Kandanda House for grilling.
“FKF is in receipt of communication from Fifa with regard to preliminary investigations on alleged incidents of match manipulation in Kenyan football. In this regards, Fifa has requested FKF for support in their investigations as they plan to interview various players, coaches, and officials involved in Kenyan football by providing premises for the interviews and inviting the aforementioned individuals,” a letter signed by FKF CEO Barry Otieno that was sent to one of the subjects, at the time, read in part.
The results of all this is that the Kericho-based club has been expelled from the FKF Premier League with immediate effect. The verdict by FIFA reads:
1. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee finds the club Zoo FC responsible for activities related to manipulation of football matches and competitions.
2. The club Zoo FC is hereby expulsed from the Kenyan Premier League Season 2020/2021 as of the date of notification of the present decision.
3. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee hereby orders the relegation of the first team of the club Zoo FC to the FKF Division One for the next season.
4. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee orders the club Zoo FC to contact FIFA in the next 30 days from the notification of this decision and implement a prevention plan as an educational directive designed to prevent and combat the manipulation of football matches and competitions.
FKF has consequently reached out to the club, informing them of the decision as directed by FIFA.
Zoo FC will be taking part in the third tier league beginning next season.
“We wish to inform you that we are in receipt of correspondence from FIFA dated May 4, 2021 (attached herein) with regard to a FIFA disciplinary Committee ruling against your club on grounds of manipulation of football matches and competition. Regrettably, in view of the aforementioned decision and in accordance with FKF’s obligation to FIFA statutes, the federation has expulsed your club from the 2020/2021 FKF Premier League season and relegated Zoo FC to the FKF Division One League for the season 2021/2022,” reads part of the email from FKF CEO Barry Otieno to Zoo FC CEO.
Zoo FC is one of the four FKF-PL clubs that kicked off their season late due to the broadcasting rights row with FKF; the other clubs were defending champions Gor Mahia, Ulinzi Stars and Mathare United.
Ulinzi Stars and Gor Mahia however joined the league but Zoo and Mathare stayed put, resulting to their expulsion by FKF but were reinstated into the league by the Sports Disputes Tribunal.
Before the 2020/2021 league season was suspended in the wake of the callous third wave of COVID-19, Zoo FC was glued to the bottom of the 18-member league, with a staggering eight points from 14 matches.