Covid-19: When will the KPL return after coronavirus curfew?

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Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay with KPL Trophy.
Goal Kenya.
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The fate of the 2019-20 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) will not be decided soon as earlier planned as the Kenyan government moved to extend the curfew for another 21 days.

First the Kenyan top-flight was suspended for a period of 21 days, with the organisers hoping the country could control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic so normalcy could return.

However, Kenya was put in another 21-day curfew by President Uhuru Kenyatta, forcing the KPL to postpone the league indefinitely, as they await May 16 for direction.

On Saturday, though, Kenyatta confirmed while addressing the nation that the curfew will now remain in force until June 6 and thus killing any hopes that the Kenyan top-flight could resume as planned by KPL.

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While Football Kenya Federation (FKF) moved to end the season and declare table-toppers Gor Mahia champions when the government announced the second curfew, the KPL insisted the league will likely resume after the curfew elapsed on May 16 - which will not be the case now with the curfew extension.

When will the Kenyan Premier League resume?

The latest move by the government to extend the curfew could have killed any hopes by KPL to resume the top-flight.

KPL CEO Jack Oguda has now told Goal only a meeting by the governing council will decide the fate of the league but could not reveal when they will meet.

When asked to explain if the 21-day curfew extension will have an impact on the season return, Oguda told Goal: “I cannot be able to comment now until the governing council meets to decide what next for the league.

“Please allow me to speak to the KPL chairman [Ambrose Rachier] on the matter and then I will be able to give you a good answer.”

KPL has maintained it was wrong for the FKF to end the season and have even challenged the decision in a local court.

By the time of ending the season, Gor Mahia were sitting at top of the table with 54 points, seven more than second-placed Kakamega Homeboyz, who have a game in hand.

Could the Premier League season be cancelled?

As it stands, there are high hopes that the Kenyan league could resume again for the remaining nine rounds of matches.

Gor Mahia fan number One Jaro Soja and fans.

While ending the season, FKF president Nick Mwendwa said they had factored in many reasons before reaching the decision and went ahead to ask clubs in the league to start preparing for the new season in August.

Mwendwa stressed the fact they wanted to make sure that new season kicks-off as planned and thus giving clubs enough time to prepare for the same.

“KPL clubs must save the little money they have and they could have used to conclude the season by starting preparations when the government relaxes rules imposed on sporting activities,” Mwendwa told Goal.

“It will not be logical to resume the league considering that our target is to start the new season in August, we must be realistic, and stop crying and put our efforts towards the new season.”

What happens if the season can’t be finished?

Should the FKF rules be observed, then Gor Mahia, who are currently leading the 17-team table on 54 points, will be declared the champions if the FKF uses clause 2.6.1 of the promotion and relegation of teams.

Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr with KPL trophy.

The clause states that where the league format, due to circumstances of force majeure, fails to be completed within the season, the league winners shall be determined in two ways.

Clause 2.6.1.1 states that: “Before each and every club has completed its first-round fixtures the league shall be declared null and void.”

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Clause 2.6.1.2 states: “Where all the clubs in the league have completed the first-round fixtures but less than 75 percent [of the] league games have been played, the table standings at the end of the first round shall be considered as the final table standings of the league.”

With ten matches to play in the KPL, 68 percent of the games have been played, meaning the table as it stood at the halfway point of the campaign will be used, and Gor will be named champions.

In the relegation battle, Chemelil Sugar will join already relegated Sony Sugar in the National Super League next season, while Kisumu All-Stars will battle with the third-place finisher in the NSL in the promotion/relegation play-offs.

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