FIFA and Kenya co-operate to settle differences

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World soccer governing body, FIFA, says it’s ready to co-operate with Kenyan authorities in revamping football in the country, quashing fears that it would slap an indefinite ban on the east African country.

In a letter to Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he was happy to note that Kenya too had expressed its commitment to work with the global body in uplifting the sport.

The new development comes two weeks after the world soccer governors threatened to sanction Kenya for what it termed government interference in the running of the sport.

This was occasioned by the High Court ruling which removed the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) led by chair Mohammed Hatimy after it was found to be in office illegally.

The court, ruling that Hatimy and company were “strangers” who had no business running the federation, gave a rival faction led by a former secretary of the federation, Sam Nyamweya the mandate to manage the national soccer office.

This drew a swift and sharp reaction from FIFA, who accused the government of in terfering in the affairs of the federation and demanded that the decision be revoked.

So angry was FIFA, which recognises the Hatimy group, that secretary- general Jerome Valcke, gave the Kenyan authorities a 72-hour ultimatum to rescind the decision or face the consequences.

Prime Minister Odinga intervened and has since been communicating with the FIFA President, averting the imminent ban.

In his letter to Odinga, a former footballer who played for ex-Premier League side, Luo Union (now disbanded), Blatter expressed concern over corruption, mismanagement, personal ambition and other ills dogging the Kenyan federation.

He asked the Kenyan authorities and FIFA to join hands in taking Kenyan soccer to new heights.

Blatter said FIFA meant well and cited the FIFA-financed Goal Project of the KFF headquarters, a technical centre which is entering the second phase and the proposed laying of artificial turf at the Nairobi City Stadium as some of the support the international federation was giving Kenya.

On its part, Kenya (now focused on the ongoing 2010 FIFA World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers), had through Odinga requested FIFA to order fresh elections in Kenya, if necessary, and promised to facilitate the exercise. Panapress.

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