NPL's appeal hearing chucked out

The Namibia Premier League was yesterday left with a sour taste in their mouths after their appeal hearing was dismissed in the Supreme Court.

20 February 2020 | Sports

Presiding judge at yesterday's Namibia Premier League and Fifa normalisation committee appeal hearing Dave Smuts dismissed the case, saying the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and its members should not take disputes to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in the statutes and Fifa regulations.

Smuts added that any disagreement should be submitted to the jurisdiction of NFA, the arbitration tribunal recognised by NFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“Disputes arising from association football conducted under the auspices of Fifa are of a special character: They require speedy resolution and the ordinary courts of law are ill suited for the purpose,” Smuts said.

How it started

The NPL made an appeal to the court to get their suspension lifted. The member league was last year suspended for putting local football in disrepute as they failed to heed the call of the normalisation committee (NC) not to relegate Orlando Pirates, Civics and Young African and to commence the new season with 16 clubs instead of 13.

They persistently continued to disregard instructions by the NC and were suspended. The suspension means that they are no longer members of the NFA and cannot take part in their activities.

They then took the NC to court to appeal what they called was an unfair suspension. However, they were instructed to seek council from CAS, which they failed to do.

“The fact is that the NPL never referred the dispute to the CAS as it is enjoined by the constitution of the NFA. The NPL further failed to provide an explanation why it did not do so,” said Smuts.

Involved parties

A visibly disappointed Harald Fuller, CEO of the Namibia Premier League (NPL), said they now have to discuss the way forward with the NC as the players are suffering in the process.

Patrick Kauta, who was not present at court, said he has to study the judgement before he can comment on whether they will approach CAS.

The NC's chairperson Hilda Basson- Namundjebo said they are now focused on Saturday's congress.

The other side

While the NPL is still making up their mind on the way forward, former NFA president Frans Mbidi launched an appeal with CAS against the NC, according to Nampa.

Mbidi is trying to stop the congress slated for Saturday, which will see a president, two vice-presidents and the executive committee being named.

Four candidates, Ranga Haikali, Johnny Doeseb, Isak Fredricks and Mabos Vries, are in the running for the top spot.

“We appealed to the NC regarding the exclusion of our client Mbidi. They advised us to go to CAS, and we have done that.

“We are challenging their interpretation of the rules they used to rule him out of the running for the NFA presidential election,” Mbidi's lawyer Ileni Gebhardt said.

Gebhardt added that according to the NC, Mbidi did not qualify for the elections because he served two consecutive terms as an exco member (one term) and as a president (one term).

However, Mbidi argues that consecutive means he was president for two terms.


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