Sports federations have expressed the challenges which have hindered their compliance with the Sports Act 2013, five years since the enactment of the law.
Speaking during a stakeholders forum spearheaded my Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed, federation heads observed that it is extremely difficult to have branches in at least 24 of the 27 counties countrywide.
“We (Kenya Volleyball Federation) are fully compliant with Sports Act 2013 but our biggest challenge is to establish branches in at least 24 counties,” said KVF president Waithaka Kioni. “We have really outdone ourselves in ensuring representation in 20 counties.”
“In addition, despite sports being a devolved function (under Constitution of Kenya 2010), counties are yet to take it up and every time we knock on their doors for facilitation, they claim they have no money. Others have money but have deliberately sidelined sports. What do we do? quipped Kioni.
“The biggest problem in complying with Sports Act 2010 is lack of structures,” said National Olympic Committee of Kenya, secretary general, Francis Mutuku. “The aspect of transition is also a big challenge. Sports federations have existed since pre-independence and during the transition, a lot of history was lost between the then system of registration and the current one, which created a lot of problems in leadership.”
“The introduction of counties as federation branches is also a handful. Historically, sports are underfunded and therefore have not been able to spread across counties. However, Sports Fund expects federations to be compliant to the effect that they must have 24 branches in the counties before registration. That takes time and money,” said Mutuku. “The idea is excellent but how do we ensure that it is effectively addressed and implemented?
He added: “It is ‘extremely challenging’ dealing with federations which are not compliant. The simple fact is that if you are not compliant, you are not recognised. But we (NOCK) are about Olympism, about sports. We can’t abandon athletes because the administrative aspect of where they operate (from) has not been fulfilled,” said Mutuku.
“Recently, we had a rowing and canoeing athlete who went to Malawi and won gold but his federation is not registered. Should we leave him alone? No! And sport in Kenya being such a short window, we cannot afford to let an athlete lose such an opportunity.”
Kenya Shooting Sports president Shoaib Vayani echoed Mutuku and Kioni’s sentiments on the need for a rethink of some of the regulations under Sports Registrar and provisions of the Sports Act 2013.
“For us as shooting sports, we are under Firearms Act, Chapter 114, and it is therefore impossible for us to have activities across the country,” said Shoaib, adding that owning a gun is also a tedious, expensive and thorough process with numerous limitations.
During the forum, it was also evident that federations are not fully aware of the mandate of the National Sports Fund and the criteria used to allocate funds.
However, Amina observed that forums like yesterday’s will help stakeholders discuss and understand challenges in sports and together draw a roadmap owned by all going forward.