Already out of favour with its two principal co-sponsors MTC and FNB Namibia, and faced with multiple marathon court cases and persistent financial troubles, events at the beleaguered Namibia Premier League (NPL) has taken a nasty twist.
According to an NPL internal communique, also seen by New Era Sport, the embattled league, which is still under suspension from the Namibia Football Association (NFA), is drowning in financial woes and has now resolved to cut employees’ salaries by 25% in a desperate bid to try and salvage the league’s daily operations.
In the memo issued to member clubs over the weekend, NPL chairperson Patrick Kauta said the league continues to find itself in a perilous financial situation and the only way to avoid administrative ruin is to cut the staff salaries. Kauta also notified the members that the league has resolved to extend the employment contracts of both the league’s chief executive officer Harald Fuelle and public relations officer Andre Gariseb until end of May and will be reviewed thereafter. Both their contracts came full circle end of last month.
“Due to precarious financial situation at the NPL, salaried employees’ remuneration was reduced by 25% effective immediately until end June 2020. We are compelled to adjust operations to ensure financial viability and protect the long term employment of staff. Instead of terminating the fixed-term contracts as initially resolved, the basic salary of staff shall be reduced by 25% to minimize central costs. The salary deductions do not affect medical aid or any staff earning less than N$ 15 000 per month. This decision is necessary for the health of the league and ensures that important work of the league proceeds,” said the NPL.
Young African rights to be auctioned
In a rather unorthodox move, Kauta further informed the league’s members that a decision has been taken to auction off demoted Young African FC incorporeal rights or status within the NPL and that an auction date will be established once the Covid-19 lockdown has been lifted by government.
“Finally, the NPL submitted its arguments in the Young African FC appeal matter. The hearing of this matter was postponed due to Covid-19. Take further notice that the incorporeal rights of Young African FC belonging to any member of the NFA will be sold on auction soon after lockdown. You are free to consult with the NPL CEO and the lawyer handling the matter regarding dates and reserved price,” Kauta added.
Young African were demoted in January last year after the NPL disciplinary committee found the club guilty of registering and fielding Zimbabwean import Tapiwa Simon Musekiwa using a fake identity in 28 of the club’s 30 league matches during the 2018/19 season.
The NPL found that Musekiwa was deceitfully registered under the name Albert Mujikijera. After their demotion, the club approached the Windhoek High Court where they launched an urgent application seeking interim relief to be reinstated into the league but their attempts to seek relief from the High Court failed as their application was twice struck off the roll on technicalities.
But earlier this year, the outgoing Fifa-appointed Normalisation Committee for the NFA appointed a substantive appeals committee and the matter has since been there pending the outcome.
Further queried by this publication why they were auctioning rights of a club which the league itself last year said was demoted and no longer a member of the league, the NPL said the decision stems from a High Court matter between NPL and Young African, which the club lost with cost of almost N$150 000 and therefore the decision to auction.
“NPL is executing through the Deputy Sheriff its costs judgment. The Deputy Sheriff is entitled to do this after he asked Young African FC to pay and they failed. The Appeal of Young African FC with the FA has nothing to do with payment of prior legal costs. The court order for the club to pay its outstanding legal cost will remain, even if the club wins the pending appeal with NFA,” said the league.
Contacted for comment, Young African chairman Mali Ngarizemo said: “I’m not threatened by Kauta’s messages that are circulating. I heard that he is planning to auction my club but let’s wait and see how he will succeed in doing that. The man [Kauta] is obsessed with me and is clearly after my club. But as I said, I’m not bothered by that as my main focus right now is our appeal with the NFA and our lawyers are hard at work in that regard. I’m not shaken by whatever Kauta and his league cronies are up to.”