NPL vs NFA in Supreme Court

By Michael Uugwanga

Theunending dispute between the Namibia Premier League (NPL) and the Namibia Football Association (NFA) has simultaneously reached a new crescendo and a new low after the NPL filed an urgent appeal before the Supreme Court on 30 December, following the High Court rulinglast November that effectively dismissed the case.

The NPL also cited NFA acting President Hilda Basson-Namundjebo, Franco Cosmos (acting general-secretary) and Matti Mwandingi (committee member) as respondents in the appeal case.

The NPL 2019/2020 football season was set to start in Augustlast year, but as matters stand it is still unclear whether there will be any domestic league games this season.

Under normal circumstances, the premier league games would have started in August through to May, but progress ground to a halt late last year after the NFA’s normalisation committeesummarily suspended the NPL on the grounds that the NPL had allegedly broughtNamibian football into disrepute.

The NPL’s appeal was filed before the Supreme Court on the penultimate day of 2019 by its chairman, Patrick Kauta,after NPL administrators concluded that their case had notbeen properly heard by the High Court.

The Supreme Court normally sits six times a year: in March, April, June, July, October and November, but there is a provision with respect to matters that require urgent attention. The NPL’s appeal is now set downfor 5 February.

The whole debacle stems from the irregular events ofthe previous season when Orlando Pirates and Civics FC were relegated from the Namibia Premier League as part of the ordinary rules and regulations of both the NPL and the NFA on promotions and relegations.

One other team, Young African Football Club was booted out of the NPL before the second round of last season after it emerged that they allowed a foreign player with forged identification documents to play on their side. This left the NPL with only 15 clubs after Young African were kicked out of the league.

According to the NFA statues the 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.

The rules also says clubs that finish in the three bottom positions of the Premier Division will be automatically relegated to the First Division. Further the rules states that three clubs winning the leagues in all the First Division streams (North West, Southern Stream and North East) will be automatically promoted to the Premier League, while the clubs finishing in the bottom position of the three streams will be relegated to the lower leagues.

However, the NFA argued that no team should be relegated because there was in fact no first division football league to relegate them to.The NFA is responsible for funding the first and second division.

Matters are now coming to a head.  The NFA is expected to hold its elective congress in February, but the Supreme Court case is likely to cast a long shadow over the congress preparations.

Dr Weder Kauta of Kauta and Hoveka Inc is representing the NPL, while high profile lawyer Sisa Namandje is representing the NFA and the three respondents.