Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has poured cold water on the contentious broadcast rights deal between Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and Chinese-owned media company StarTimes, saying it has little economic value to clubs.
Last month, FKF unveiled a Sh800 million seven-year deal with StarTimes which involves production and live broadcast of select Harambee Stars, Premier League, and National Super League (NSL) games on StarTimes.
This deal was initially received with excitement by stakeholders who saw an opportunity for footballers to market themselves across the continent, with administrators giving clubs monthly grants.
But the deal has instead led to squabbles between the federation and a number of club chairmen, leading to Wednesday’s suspension of Zoo FC and Mathare United from the top-flight league.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa has ordered the two clubs to sign an endorsement letter transferring their respective media rights to the federation by Friday evening or risk being expelled from the league this season.
Mathare United chairman Bob Munro and Zoo FC owner Ken Ochieng were not available for comment.
FKF gave Ulinzi an ultimatum
Mwendwa has also threatened Ulinzi Stars with expulsion from the league if the military team does not sign a similar endorsement by Monday.
Meanwhile, Ulinzi chairman Col. Erick Oloo has explained that the club’s legal department was still studying the terms of the contract before making a decision.
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“(From this deal) Gor Mahia earns Sh100,000 a month. That’s is a third of what we used to get from SuperSport four years ago in a similar deal. Can you imagine?” posed Rachier.
Tower of Babel
The veteran administrator and lawyer also took issue with how FKF has managed the league since taking over the responsibility in August.
“Contractual matters are negotiated. They are not presented for one party to sign without participation. We are being asked to endorse a contract without questioning even a comma. Our crime is failing to endorse what we don’t know much about.”
Rachier also confirmed he has written to StarTimes seeking to withdraw a signed endorsement letter penned on behalf of the club by besieged secretary-general Sam Ochola. He further stated that his team is ready to compete in the league and defend their title this season despite a lack of agreement on the broadcast rights.
“I wish Mwendwa could come down from the tower of Babel and lead the conversation on how we can get to an agreement.”
Gor are programmed to play Ulinzi Stars in their opening match of the season at Utalii Grounds on Sunday.