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Sport Ministry clears FKF Premier League to kick off after lifting ban

The local government has finally allowed the resumption of football just a day before the 2020-21 season kicks off on Saturday

The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has received the green light to start the 2020-21 Premier League.

This is after the Kenya government moved to lift the ban on contact sports which has been in force since the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) for last season was prematurely ended owing to coronavirus pandemic.

A letter from the Ministry of Sports signed by CS Amina Mohamed and obtained by Goal has confirmed the resumption of contact sports by stating: “The Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Heritage in consultation with the Ministry of Health as revised the resumption of sports guidelines as follows.

“All contact sports [low-risk] may resume their Premier [tier] and Team Kenya activities. All other activities related to lower-level leagues remain suspended.

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“All contact sports [high risk] remain suspended and all national teams may resume training in preparation for international events.”

The statement continued: “No spectators will be allowed at any sporting event, and all federations must ensure compliance of to all the provisions of the guidelines.

“The ministry will continue to monitoring compliance with the guidelines and revise them from time to time in the best interest of the health and safety of all our stakeholders.”

Earlier on Friday, FKF boss Nick Mwendwa told Goal they were ready to kick-off the season after doing a test match between Kariobangi Sharks against Bidco United and further warned fans will not be allowed to watch their teams.

“I want to be very clear, no fans will be allowed into the stadium be it in Nairobi or matches being played outside the City,” Mwendwa told Goal on Friday. “We don’t want fans crowding the stadium, trying to come to watch matches, they will not be allowed in.

“We are under clear instructions to play football without fans and that is what we will do, and to be clear, should fans of any team try to come to the stadium to watch any match, then the referee of the day is under instructions not to kick-off the match, the match will not start.

“We don’t know how long the league will be played without fans but that is the situation, for now, clubs must inform fans of the development, we don’t want to have problems, only players, club a few club officials and journalist, covering matches will be allowed into the match venues.

“My humble appeal to the fans is to urge them to grab their StarTimes decoder and watch matches live from their homes, the matches will be live on both packages, aerial and satellite, and will also apply if you have a StarTimes App, so get ready so as you don’t miss the action.”

Three matches will kick off the season on Saturday with AFC Leopards versus Tusker being broadcast live by StarTimes, with the two other matches pitting promoted Vihiga United against Kakamega Homeboyz at Mumias Compex and Bandari against Sofapaka at Mbaraki Stadium.

On Sunday, four matches will be played – Nairobi City Stars taking on Nzoia Sugar at Nyayo Stadium, Kariobangi Sharks against Wazito FC at Kasarani Stadium, Posta Rangers vs KCB at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, and Western Stima against Bidco United at Moi Stadium in Kisumu.

Gor Mahia, who will be taking part in Caf Champions League assignment against APR of Rwanda, will open the season with a home game against Zoo FC at Nyayo Stadium on December 2.

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