Kenya on Thursday disbanded its national football federation over corruption allegations and said it may seek to prosecute any guilty officials.
The move was swiftly rejected by the suspended head of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), who denied there had been any wrongdoing.
Sports Minister Amina Mohamed said the action was taken after a government investigation into FKF finances revealed it had failed to account for funds received from the government and other sponsors.
She said in a statement there would be a further probe to “establish the extent to which the misappropriation of funds in FKF may have occurred, with a view of prosecuting those who may be found culpable”.
The minister named a 15-member caretaker committee to run the federation’s affairs until fresh elections are held in six months’ time.
But suspended FKF chief Nick Mwendwa vowed to fight the move.
“I am still… in charge of the FKF. We won’t accept the decision taken by the sports ministry,” Mwendwa told a press conference.
“The FKF reject the (caretaker) committee, and we will carry on with our operations as usual. This means all football activities in the country continue as scheduled and FKF remains in charge.
Mwendwa denied that the federation had failed to account for government funds.
“FKF fully complied with the inspection process ordered by the minister, and (provided) detailed and operational documents from the year 2016 to date. But regrettably the inspectors had no serious interest in scrutinizing our documents.”
The government investigation launched two weeks ago sought to determine if 244 million shillings ($2.2 million) given to the federation was used as intended to prepare the national Harambee Stars team for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Egypt.
Thursday’s government move may put Kenya at loggerheads with FIFA which prohibits government interference in the affairs of local federations.
Mohamed said Kenya had informed FIFA about the outcome of the government investigation.
The Harambee Stars played Uganda in a 2022 World Cup qualifier in Kampala on Thursday, a match that ended in a 1-1 draw.
Kenya is mathematically out of the running for the Qatar finals after two big losses to group leaders Mali and draws against Uganda and Rwanda.