Namibia Premiership challenges Sport Commission’s ruling

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The Namibia Premier League (NPL) has filed yet another appeal in its bid to become a free-standing national football governing body.

This time around, the NPL has challenged the Namibia Sports Commission’s decision to reject its application to be recognised as an independent national sport federation or professional league independent of the Namibia Football Association (NFA).

According to The Namibian newspaper, there is no Sport Act provision to grant the NPL its wish. There can only be one national governing body per sport code in the country. The NPL was expelled as an NFA member through an extraordinary congress in July.

“The NPL does not concede that the decision was taken at a properly constituted meeting of the commission, nor that it was taken by the commission, as these facts are not borne out of the record which was provided to it, and there is no reference in the letter to a meeting of the commission at which the decision was purportedly taken,” said the NPL in its appeal submission.

“This arbitrary decision was taken without the NPL having been granted an opportunity to be heard in respect of change of stance.”

The NPL refuses to accept that it should be an NFA subordinate as recommended last month by the committee of eminent persons (CEP) assembled by the NSC at the behest of minister of sport, youth and social services Agnes Tjongarero.

The CEP’s function was to persuade the NFA to reverse the NPL’s expulsion. Alternatively, the CEP recommended reconciliation through fresh dialogue between the bodies.

“When we told you these guys don’t want football to start, you didn’t believe us. It is clear for everyone to see. We intend to kick off in February as planned,” said NFA secretary general Franco Cosmos as quoted by The Namibian Sport.

The NPL continues to push the narrative that it operates within the realms of Fifa, CAF and NSC “to promote, administer, control, govern and regulate all professional football in Namibia”.

In October, Fifa made it clear that only the NFA shall oversee all forms of organised football in the country.

As an expelled member of the NFA, the NPL’s ties to Fifa, and by extension CAF and Cosafa automatically cease to exist.

Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura explicitly informed Tjongarero that her role in the dispute was tantamount to “unacceptable” government interference and that the NFA’s decision to expel the NPL is binding.

To play organised football in the country, the NPL requires affiliation to the national football mother body, which is the NFA, or take its place altogether.

Neither option is on the table.

The commission has not “acted fairly or reasonably”, the NPL argues, and therefore its decision should be set aside.

Should the NPL get its wish, it would invariably push back plans to get domestic football up and running again.

The NFA runs the Namibia Football Premier League (NFPL), which has taken the NPL’s place as the country’s top-tier division, and is set to kick off towards the end of February 2021 and conclude in August 2021.

With the exception of Unam and Eleven Arrows, 14 of the clubs that constituted the NPL’s 2018/19 season indicated they have crossed over to the NFPL.

Since getting suspended in July last year, the NPL has lost appeals in the High Court and the Supreme Court, has been barred from the NFA’s extraordinary and elective congresses in November 2019 and in February 2020 when its suspension was overwhelmingly upheld, before getting expelled altogether in July.

The NPL is awaiting a verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding its suspension.

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By FARPost Reporter 

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