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Nov 3, 2006

Kenyan government acts to end football crisis

NAIROBI, Nov 3 (Reuters) - The Kenyan government dissolved the trouble-ridden Kenya Football Federation (KFF) on Friday in a bid to stem months of chaos that has marred the sport in the east African nation.

Sports Minister Maina Kamanda said the government had formed an eight-man caretaker committee that would run the sport in a move designed to bring the crisis to an end.

FIFA indefinitely suspended Kenya from all international competition on Oct. 24 for failing to respect signed agreements and for recurrent problems in their football federation.

FIFA said on Friday they had not yet received official notification of the move to dissolve the KFF, but was watching the situation closely.

'We cannot comment now because we have not received a communication. However, we shall wait and watch the situation as it unfolds,' Jerome Champagne, the FIFA President's Delegate for Special Affairs said

Kamanda told a news conference called to explain the move: 'In the past three years the government has injected no less than 60 million Kenya shillings ($834,500) directly or indirectly into Kenyan football without any visible signs of success.'

'I am left with no alternative but to conclude that Kenyan football needs a fresh start in the management of its affairs,' he said.

'On the strength of resolutions of the Kenya National Sports Council, I invoke my powers as the head of the council to direct the Kenya Football Federation, its branches, sub-branches and all its organs are dissolved with immediate effect.'

Kenyan football is in turmoil, with two rival organisations running parallel Premier Leagues.

FIFA wants Kenya Premier League Limited (KPL) to run a league featuring 18 clubs but the Kenyan Football Federation (KFF) set up a company, KFF PL, to run a 20-team league.

The future of the league competitions -- which comprise the same clubs -- is now far from certain.

Alfred Sambu, who had been KFF chairman until Friday, told Reuters he supported the government's decision.

'I fully support the minister because FIFA cannot ask us to violate our own constitution to support KPL (to run the league). Let us start soccer afresh,' Sambu said.

Nicholas Musonye, secretary-general of the regional football body CECAFA, said a proper structure needed to be put in place to avoid similar problems in Kenya in future.

'The Caretaker Committee must put proper structures in place so that whoever comes in is not trapped in the same vicious circle of administrative quagmire,' said Musonye.