• August 23rd, 2019
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FIFA’S Normalisation Committee, the broad and tricky mandate

Yarukeekuro Steven Ndorokaze

It is now common cause that the term of office of the elected members of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Executive Committee ended early last December, following their election in 2014. 
Needless to state that Mr. Patrick Kauta remains the sole surviving member of the eleven-member Executive Committee, in his capacity of Chairman of the Namibia Premier League. 

It appears safe to conclude that the primary reason why the Bureau of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Council, which comprises the FIFA President and six (6) Confederation Presidents; decided to set up a Normalisation Committee for the NFA, was owing to the expiry of the NFA Executive Committee’s term of office. 
The move seems to align well with Article 8 (2) of the FIFA Statutes – Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes, which provides that “Executive bodies of member associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the Council in consultation with the relevant confederation and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period of time”. 

Therefore, a Normalisation Committee appointed in terms of Article 8 (2) can only replace the executive body of the member association.

It is submitted that there are no issues to pick with the appointment of a Normalisation Committee for the NFA, in view of the fact that the Executive Committee hitherto had seemingly overstayed its welcome, even if there is no executive body to replace. 

The question then is, has the Normalisation Committee been vested with the full powers of the Executive Committee as contemplated in the NFA Statures or is it only part thereof? 

If one has regard to the FIFA Secretary General’s letter dated 9 January 2019, the mandate is evidently specific and three-pronged, limited to “running the NFA’s daily affairs, ensuring that (NFA) members elect Executive Committees in the event of expired mandates and organise and conduct elections of the new NFA Executive Committee”. 

The letter does not suggest that FIFA in any way sought to suspend the operation of the NFA Statutes during the constitution and operation of the Normalisation Committee, hence the established committee will have to operate within the provisions of the NFA Statutes, as that relates to the powers of the Executive Committee. But which specific provisions from the NFA Statutes are applicable and relevant? 

Article 35 (b) of the NFA Statutes empowers the Executive Committee to prepare and convene the NFA Congress, which in this case would be the platform at which the new NFA Executive Committee would be elected and before that happens, the NFA members would have renewed their leaderships and select their representatives to the Congress. 
The second and third mandates of the Normalisation Committee seem to be well synchronised with the provision of Article 35 (b) of the NFA Statutes, in relation to ensuring that members give their leaders new mandates and the Congress is held soonest. 

The quagmire might be with giving effect to “running the NFA’s daily affairs”. What does that legally and/or practically mean? 

Is the Normalisation Committee competent to perform the remaining sixteen (16) responsibilities of the Executive Committee as listed in Article 35? Can the committee lawfully appoint members of the standing committees or nominate persons to the judicial and electoral bodies? 

Does the running of NFA’s daily affairs include the administrative work entrusted with the General Secretariat in terms of Article 56 of the NFA Statutes? How about some practical administrative activities such as accessing the NFA bank accounts, which is entrusted with the President and General Secretary in terms of Articles 38 and 57.
Then follows the elephant in the room, can the Normalisation Committee appoint or dismiss the General Secretary as contemplated in Article 35 (i) of the NFA Statutes? 

It is not apparent that this power has been conferred on the committee as the Statutes prescribed a specific process to be followed in the appointment of the General Secretary, which entails the NFA President proposing a name and the Executive Committee agreeing to the proposed appointment. 

It is hard to argue that the mandate of the Normalisation Committee includes this particular power. It becomes complicated with some believing that the serving General Secretary is out of contract, while his employment contract reportedly has a clause which has the potential of extending his term at the Football House until retirement. 

This is certainly a matter that must be approached with caution and maturity as it could tilt either way.    
The evident jostling for positions onto the much priced NFA Executive Committee would not make the work of the committee any easier as it intensifies with time. 

Individuals are generally aligned one way or the other and the committee members are no exception in that regard. However, the expectation is that they collectively rise above any personal preferences or associations and deliver on the task at hand.  

FIFA could have made the assignment lighter and easier to implement by specifically stating the provisions drawn from the NFA Statutes, which were supposed to serve as guide for the Normalisation Committee. 
From the media reports following the announcement of the committee members, the FIFA representative who came to town was less than prepared for the task of explicitly outlining the role practical and specific role of the Normalisation Committee. 

Somebody should have alerted him that Namibia embraces free and at times interrogative media. 
Hopefully the committee will not be much occupied with making sense of what “running NFA’s daily affairs” mean in real and practical terms, while its slightly over 100 day mandate ticks away at pace, but will set a firm foundation so that the present situation is never repeated. 

NB: the author is a career journalist and legal practitioner. The views expressed herein are entirely his.

New Era Reporter
2019-02-15 11:59:58 6 months ago

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