Sometime back in May, SportPesa Premier League champions Tusker played Zoo Kericho at Kericho Green Stadium.
The brewers won the match two-nil, but that was not the end of the matter.
Somehow, the Tusker management forgot their players’ Football Kenya Federation cards in Ruaraka or God knows where and could not produce them as is mandatory before a match takes place.
We do not know why, but the match was allowed to go on and, well, as mentioned, Tusker won.
Three months later, the Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee (IDCC) ruled that they forfeit their match against Zoo Kericho for fielding players without valid Football Kenya Federation (FKF) cards.
The IDCC is of course notorious for taking ages before ruling on any matter that is brought to them. This time round it took them three months just to conclude thus: “It is beyond conjecture that Tusker FC did not comply with the rules regarding presentation of valid FKF cards. Rule 3.5 (g) of the Rules of Kenyan Football provides inter alia that the referee and assistant referees must inspect and confirm that the players have valid FKF cards. Rule 3.5 (h) states that ‘every player must present their FKF card to the referee before kick-off of every match’.”
It is all nice to read those parts of the rules quoted by IDCC but the last bit about rule 3.5 (h) which says that every player must present their FKF card to the referee before kick-off of every match raises eyebrows. If Tusker did not present their cards before kick-off, why did the match go on? Why didn’t the referee stop it from taking place all together? What if Zoo Kericho had beaten Tusker? Would points have still been docked?
The ruling goes further to prescribe that “a player cannot be fielded without a valid card approved by the referee. It is thus clear that fielding of a player without a valid FKF card renders such player(s) ineligible players.”
Therefore dear readers, all those Tusker players were ineligible to play that day.
The committee must have also felt awkward going with the letter of the law while neglecting its spirit. They shed crocodile tears thus: “The committee sympathises with Tusker FC, for their breach, we are convinced, was not deliberate. Our hands are tied, and we must apply the rule as it is. Tusker FC automatically forfeited the match as per Rule 7.5 (c) and as per rule 3.8 on forfeited matches, the match is hereby awarded to Zoo Kericho, on the prescribed score of 2-0 basis. The two goals of Tusker are cancelled and do not count.”
It was obviously a very harsh and belated ruling. The identification and eligibility of players should no longer be dependent upon FKF cards. Let us go biometric in line with digital progress.
Those cards are outdated and have cost a great team a lot of harm with silly rules!!
Using their vast coaching experience, the three can develop a winning squad.