The Kericho-based club reveals their intention to challenge the ruling by the world governing body over match-fixing claims
Zoo FC have confirmed they will lodge an official complaint to the world governing body Fifa over their decision to relegate them from the FKF Premier League after being found guilty of match manipulation.
On Tuesday, Fifa revealed through a letter to the club signed by the Fifa Disciplinary Committee Chairman Alejandro, that the Kericho-based side had been found guilty of fixing matches and that they will now play in the third-tier from the 2021-22 season.
Zoo have responded to the decision by Fifa by stating they were surprised by the move to hold them responsible for the allegations and they will appeal against the same.
“We were earlier this year charged with manipulation of football matches and competitions contrary to art. 18 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code on the basis of a report compiled by the Fifa Integrity,” read a statement signed by the club chairman Ken Ochiengand obtained by Goal.
“The events purportedly leading to the charge involve two of the then Kenyan Premier League matches, now known as the Football Kenya Federation Premier League. The first match was played on January 27, 2019, in Machakos between Sofapaka and Zoo and the second was played on March 1, 2020, between Wazito FC and Zoo.
“Thereafter, the Fifa Integrity Department opened a preliminary investigation into the football affairs of the club. In the course of conducting its said investigations, the Fifa Integrity Department interrogated a number of our current and former players and officials.
“It is fundamentally worth noting that at the conclusion of its report the department stated: “…Fifa integrity believes that there is not enough evidence to conclusively identify a single specific individual to be held as the sole responsibility of the manipulation of the matches under scrutiny, based on the available evidence [namely the performance analysis and intelligence information].”
“In essence, it is our belief the report was inadequate and its findings doubtful. We in fact called upon the Fifa Disciplinary Committee to review the facts and the evidence over and above the said report.”
The statement continued: “This morning [Tuesday] we were however surprised to receive a communique from Fifa that unfortunately held us responsible for match manipulation pursuant to art. 8 FDC as read with art. 18 pars 1 and 2 Fifa Disciplinary Code and, eventually, the imposition of sanctions that basically relegated us to the Division One League in the 2021-22 Season.
“We will in the next ten (10) days write to them to provide further particulars of their decision which we believe is based on the misguided legal concept of “strict liability”.
“We have since prepared our Appeal to the Fifa Appeals Committee under art. 56 Fifa Disciplinary Code which we shall soon file and we are confident our appeal shall be successful.
“We shall also seek a stay of execution of the said decision that will allow us to continue participating in the league. We assure you that we are prepared to exhaust all legal avenues to ensure this unfair decision is reversed including lodging any further or another appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
“We thank you for your continued support and ask you to remain calm as we explore the aforestated.”
Zoo were formed in 2009 and a year later, they joined the second-tier. They earned promotion to the top-tier in 2017 when the league was expanded from 16 to 18 teams.