Sunday, June 23, 2013

Let the corporates ‘fight’ for the good of football

I took a lot of flak a few weeks ago when I penned an article here regarding the standoff between Kenyan Premier League Limited and AFC Leopards over the latter’s ill-adviced move to enter into a deal with a pay TV provider that is in direct competition with the league’s official broadcasters.
So let me state upfront that I don’t intend to stick out my neck again by harping on the same old tune.
Still, it’s been hard not to take notice of the subtle push and pull between the parties involved over the last few weeks without a clear way forward being advanced.
Thankfully, last Friday, the whole saga took a fresh twist when the often indecisive KPL spoke with finality and issued a 72-hour ultimatum for AFC Leopards to either cut lose their association with the TV at the center of the controversy (yes, they of the Ingwe TV infamy) or forfeit participation in the league.
Tough choice for Leopards who, nonetheless, responded by saying that they would not budge. The club even threatened to take the battle to the corridors of justice.
Suspension of a team from a top flight league under such circumstances is unprecedented in this age and time.
It will be very interesting to see whether KPL will make good their threat should Leopards stand their ground.
But what I find more interesting is the kind of debate that Kenyan football, moreso the league, nowadays elicits in the public ‘court’.
That multinational companies can fight and exchange unsavoury words ‘just for football’ is very delicious indeed.
A renowned sports editor, with multiple KPL Print Journalist of the Year awards under his belt, once told me how, as a budding reporter, his editor had lambasted him for filing a 400-word match preview.
Kenyan football was at its lowest ebb then, and the best coverage the print media could offer were ‘fillers’ not exceeding 250 words.
Times have since changed, more so with the arrival of SuperSport to resuscitate the game. With more corporates coming on board the standards have improved in leaps and bounds.
My take on the KPL-Ingwe impasse? Let the corporates ‘fight’ it out, as long it elevates local football.

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