FIFA backs NC decision on no NPL play-offs

By John Tuerijama

FIFA MEMBER Association and Development Director for Africa and the Caribbean Region Veron Mosengo-Omba, said that no valid reasons were provided by the interim Normalisation Committee to explain why the country’s first and second division matches did not take place.

In a letter to the Normalisation Committee (NC) of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) seen by Confidente, the International Federation of Football Associations expressed itself on the status of Namibian football but did not object to the decision taken by the NFA NC not to have relegation and promotional play-offs.

The letter from FIFA, dated 27 June, in response to one from the NFA NC sent on 13 June referred to previous correspondence regarding the status of clubs in the first division and second division of the Namibia Premier League (NPL).

“We understand that the first and second division clubs did not play the 2018/19 season. There was no valid reason to speak of for these two divisions, as expressed in your letter.

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The NFA now has to contend with the issue of promotion and relegation among three leagues.”

It further reads that: “While noting your request for FIFA’s advice in this situation, we would like to emphasize that, in the absence of an elected NFA executive committee as foreseen in the league regulations, the NFA NC is the competent body to decide how the current matter of promotion and relegation among the three leagues should be addressed.”

It said the responsibility falls within the NC’s mandate to “run the NFA’s daily affairs”.

Previous correspondence by the NFA, regarding the modalities of promotion and relegation for the 2018/19 season, was sent to all NFA members with the expectation that first and second division clubs would participate in the previous season, but since they did not participate in league games, the interim committee should now chart a way forward, and the decision of the NFA NC shall be final, read Masengo-Omba’s letter.

“Notwithstanding the above, we understand that the NFA NC has decided that there should be no promotion and relegation among the three leagues. We have no objection with this position, which is consistent with Article 9 (Principle of promotion and relegation) of the regulations governing the application of the FIFA Statues.”

He said Article 9 emphasises the need for “sporting merit” when determining a club’s participation in a league and when deciding the promotion and relegation of clubs. In this particular case, it appears there was no sporting merit in the promotion and relegation of the first and second NPL divisions.

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Masengo-Omba further reiterated FIFA’s commitment to football development in Namibia and that the NFA NC can be assured of the world football body’s support under the FIFA Forward programme.

Speaking to Confidente, NPL chief executive officer Harald Fueller said the NPL executive will meet this week and has meanwhile requested a copy of the 13 June letter addressed to FIFA by the NFA NC. He said they want to better understand the reasons behind the NFA NC’s decision not to have relegation and promotion play-offs.