NPL threatened with expulsion by NFA

By John Tuerijama

THE ongoing wrangle in football has turned nasty with the Namibia Football Association (NFA)’s Normalisation Committee (NC) threatening the Namibia Premier League (NPL) with suspension and/or expulsion if the league fails to comply with directives given.

A letter, dated 19 August, titled ‘Announcement of the MTC Premiership kick off date for 2019/20 season and number of teams competing in the league’ says that it has come to the attention of the NFA NC that the NPL has limited the number of teams to compete in the MTC Premiership to 13, and had announced the envisaged kick off date and draft fixture schedule in its 13 August letter, which was sent by the NPL to the 13 clubs.

It further points out that contrary to the announcement and Rule 3.1.1 of the NFA manual on rules and regulations, “The Premier League will consist of 16 clubs or any other number of clubs as decided by the NFA executive committee”, noting that the same provision is made in Rule 3.1.1 of the NPL manual on rules and regulation.

The letter, signed by NFA NC chairperson Hilda Basson-Namundjebo, added that in terms of Rule 3.2.4 of the NFA manual, the NFA executive committee shall issue the rules that govern the promotion and relegation of clubs to and from various leagues.

Until such time that the NFA executive committee has issued the rules, no NPL season 2019/20 can commence. “The NFA executive committee thus place you on terms that it never delegated such authority to the NPL, neither expressly nor implicit,” it read.

It further states that Article 67 of the NPL constitution provides that “The NPL will organise competitions (NPL championship and NPL cup) between members and other clubs, as approved by the NFA, which competitions will be regulated by this constitution together with the competition rules, which shall comply with the NFA manual on rules and regulations.”

The letter added that in contravention of the abovementioned provisions, the NPL unilaterally announced that the MTC Premier League would include 13 teams, instead of 16 as per the NPL statutes, and that the envisaged kick off date for the 2019/20 season would be 13 and 15 September.

“The NPL made these announcements with full knowledge of the announcement (which announcement was communicated to the NPL by a letter dated 15 July) by the NFA that ‘no promotion or relegation will take place in Namibian football for the upcoming season’, which means teams that were in the relegation position in the 2018/19 season will also form part of the new season,” reiterated the letter.

The NFA NC warned the NPL that in terms of Article 13 (1) (a) of the NFA constitution members of the NFA have to comply fully with the statutes, regulations, directives and decisions of FIFA, CAF, COSAFA and the NFA at all times and to ensure that these are also respected  by its members.

Namundjebo-Basson’s letter said failure by the NPL to comply may be dealt with in terms of Article 13(2), which states that violation of the above mentioned obligations by any member may lead to sanctions, including suspension and expulsion.

The NFA thus directed the NPL to retract public statements made pertaining to the number of teams competing in the MTC Premiership 2019/20 season, including the envisaged kick off date.

The NPL was instructed to comply within five days of the receipt of the latest letter, as failure to do so would result in the NFA taking action. Apart from the directive to respond, the NFA NC invited the NPL to meet to discuss the way forward, but on condition that the NPL retracts the public announcement.

NPL chief executive officer Harald Fueller said for now they would not respond as both NPL chairperson Patrick Kauta and vice chairperson Bonny Paulino were out of the country. He said the NPL executive committee might meet over the weekend to discuss the NFA letter and respond accordingly.