August 1, 2021

Otieno explains why FKF is yet to air Premier League matches outside Nairobi

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The local federation has explained why they have not been able to air top-flight matches outside the capital city

The Football Kenya Federation has come out to clarify the reason for not airing live any FKF Premier League matches from outside Nairobi.

The federation signed a broadcast partnership deal with StarTimes at the start of the 2020-21 campaign in which they agreed 100 matches from the top-flight will be screened live.

However, with the league heading to matchday seven, no match has been transmitted live from outside Nairobi, with all live matches coming from either Kasarani Stadium or Utalii grounds.

The move has left many football stakeholders wondering whether the deal the FKF signed with StarTimes was valid, with others saying it will not help grow Kenyan football if matches from outside Nairobi is not aired live.

FKF CEO Barry Otieno has now shed some light on why they are yet to venture outside the city to air matches from there.

“We have to start somewhere, in life you must start somewhere, and there are people who have been issuing statements which are not factual in regards to the deal we signed with StarTimes,” Otieno told Radio Jambo.

“It is very important for people to know the federation has now moved from being controversial to real-time because we are doing our things in an open manner, we don’t want to hide anything.

“We must also ask ourselves, where were before the StarTimes deal came in, because last year [2020], it was not a good year for everyone, but we signed a deal with StarTimes where we agreed at least per season we transmit live 100 matches, and out of the 100, there are matches that will be screened from the counties, and we hope preferably latest February, we will travel to the counties to air matches from there.

“Last season KPL had a deal with Media Pro and they never aired matches live from outside the city and even clubs were not receiving anything [in terms of grants] and that is why we say, we are in matchday seven, and we have already given teams Sh3million already from the sponsors, and have managed to air live 17 matches.”

Otieno continued: “I want to tell Kenyan we are putting a mechanism in place to have matches aired outside the city, we have Covid-19 pandemic and we cannot easily attain our objectives, for example, taking the production team to Kakamega for live matches will be very costly, imagine how you can sustain 32 people in Kakamega, means the cost will double, because of Covid-19.

“There is no night travel meaning they will have to spend another day in the hotel which means more expenses and people cannot share rooms, so we have to relook at the budget and talk to our sponsors to see if they can boost us to show other matches outside the City.

“We are working on that, and we hope it will work out by February, the deal [we signed with StarTimes] does not have any issues because we are only airing matches from Nairobi, no, the deal is okay and valid only that the current situation in the country cannot allow us to shot matches outside the city.”

The league will continue on Sunday with AFC Leopards taking on KCB, Bidco United coming up against Wazito FC and Vihiga United playing host to Posta Rangers.