Govt warned about 'interference'
The decision to appoint a committee to mediate in the impasse in Namibian football has not been received with open arms.
24 September 2020 | Sports
Eight football clubs have written to the minister of sport, Agnes Tjongarero, and the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), stating that their interference would have severe implications for the sport.
Blue Waters, Citizens, Civics, Julinho, Mighty Gunners, Orlando Pirates, Tigers and Young African stated that there is no stand-off between the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and the Namibia Premier League (NPL), as they have passed that stage.
The clubs said the stand-off that was there was without their consent, and without proper authorisation of the Board of Governors (BoG) and the members of the NPL.
“Our clubs have all along supported the constitutional provisions of the NFA, and that explains why we have accepted their invitation to join the top-tier league,” the letter reads.
The clubs fear that recommendations by the appointed committee consisting of Roswitha Gomachas, Thomas Mbeeli, Heritha Nankole Muyoba, Walter Don, Bro-Mathew Shinguadja and Stanley Mutoya will put the minister in a predicament as she will be forced to determine the next course of action – which constitutes government interference.
It is believed that if that happens, Fifa will step in and kick the NFA out as a member: which will result in no top-tier league being played.
The clubs said the NSC and Tjongarero have no jurisdiction over leagues in Namibia, and cannot supervise football clubs through the commission. Also, in the lengthy letter, they explained that the scope and mandate of the NSC is restricted to its registered members, who are national sports bodies.
“The NPL is not a member of the NSC and therefore cannot be subjected to the commission's dispute resolution efforts at the expense of the statutory processes that are provided for in the NFA statutes and the NPL constitution, as well as those remedies provided for in the Caf and Fifa statutes,” they wrote.
What the statutes say
Article 63 of the NFA statutes, dealing with dispute resolution and arbitration, states that NFA shall create an independent Arbitration Tribunal, which shall deal with all internal national disputes between the NFA, its members, players, officials and match officials.
Also, Article 64 in regard to jurisdiction states that the NFA, its members, players' officials, match and players' agents will not take any dispute to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in these statutes and Fifa regulations.
“Any disagreement shall be submitted to the jurisdiction of the NFA, the Arbitration Tribunal recognised by NFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” it further reads.
In addition, the NFA shall have jurisdiction in all internal national disputes, for example all disputes between parties belonging to the NFA. Furthermore, the clubs emphasised and reminded the NSC that they had advised the NPL not to take their dispute to ordinary court as it is prohibited by the Sports Act, NSC as well as the NFA, Caf and Fifa statutes.
“The NSC in terms of its governing act only deals with federations overseeing the administration of sport in Namibia, registered with the commission, and not with members that should be affiliated to such associations as national bodies,” the letter reads.
The clubs further explained why they could not accept the mediating committee.
“The NPL executive committee has accepted their individual expulsion from the NFA, the registration of the NPL to operate as a professional league and apply for an operating licence to NSC carries no proper mandate of the BoG of the 16 expelled clubs, nor with the consent of all members of the NPL. “Therefore, it is illegal and unconstitutional. We distance ourselves from this unconstitutional practice that lacks high degree of governance. And have expressed our support in favour of NFA to normalise football. We have accepted the invitation by the NFA to speedily finalise the creation of the top-tier league.”
The clubs added that they have already applied to join the NFA top-tier league.
“Therefore, your efforts … to mediate a non-existing dispute is driven by other interests, but certainly not facts.” They then called on the NSC to dismiss the application of the expelled NPL to receive an operating licence.
Source speaks out
A source from one of the clubs said that NPL chairperson Patrick Kauta wasn't given a mandate to make decisions on behalf of the clubs.
“He never called anyone to ask for the way forward. He keeps using money from his pocket in fighting his case. The minister was misled. She has a position of power to bring people together to solve this and not to call a committee. What will change?” added the source.
The source added that the top-tier league has received close to US$1.5 million, and FNB has also ploughed in close to N$9 million over three years for the first division and the women's league. The second division will get N$260 000.