Namibia: Sports Commission Rebuffs NPL

The Namibia Premier League is in a quandary after their arbitration request against the NFA lodged with the Namibia Sports Commission last month was turned away on Thursday.

In effect, the national sports governing body instructed the NPL to find a solution to its grievance with the NFA, which is under the administration of a Fifa Normalisation Committee, within the NFA's non-existent remedial structures.

Given the absence of an NFA arbitration tribunal, the NPL can explore the costly Court of Arbitration for Sport route, should they disregard the NSC stipulation.

"The NSC advises you to follow articles 61 and 63 of the NFA statutes to remedy the current stand-off between the parties," reads the letter from NSC chief administrator Simataa Freddy Mwiya.

In the event that the NPL has exhausted the NFA option, they should "provide evidence to facilitate your request to minister Erastus Uutoni, of the Ministry of Sports, Youth and National Service, who is mandated to enforce Section 35 of the Namibia Sports Act No 12 of 2003 through to the appeal committee, which in that case the application of section of the aforementioned act is valid."

On account of the "abnormal state of affairs and the non-existence of an appeal committee to hear appeals", the normalisation committee recently advertised vacancies for the NFA appeals committee.

This exercise, which looks likely to be completed closer to if not after the NFA congress next month, too has the backing of Fifa.

The dispute stems from Fifa endorsing the normalisation committee that no promotions or relegations be registered in Namibia for the 2018/2019 season in the absence of active lower division leagues, reversing Civics and Orlando Pirates' relegation to the Southern Stream First Division.

Additionally, the NPL feels the NC's position undermines the decision to expel Young African from the top-flight in January after being found guilty of fraudulently fielding Zimbabwean Tapiwa Musekiwa as Albert Mujikijera the season before.

Young African, however, are still holding out on getting that demotion reversed through an appeal once a new NFA leadership is elected in September.

There is no official word from the NPL on the latest development, which only serves to further fuel fears that domestic football may again indefinitely grind to a halt in similar fashion to events three years ago.

This is especially so after several clubs publicly expressed dissatisfaction with league chairman Patrick Kauta's leadership, and called for his prompt resignation on Thursday.

The NPL wants to kickstart the new campaign with 13 teams instead of the full complement of 16 as instructed by Fifa, next month, but does not have the backing of all its 'recognised' members.

Along with 'relegated' Civics and Pirates plus the discarded Young African, also opposed to the NPL commencing are league champions Black Africa, Tigers, Julinho Sporting, Mighty Gunners, Citizens and Blue Waters.

The clubs accuse Kauta of being autocratic, and only serving the interests of African Stars, of which he is also chairman.

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