Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura on Tuesday wrote back to the country’s sport minister Agnes Tjongarero, again reiterating the world football governing body’s strong stance that it will not accept a breakaway league in Namibia and nor shall it entertain any undue influence or decisions taken by third parties not elected or appointed by the NFA.
Last week, Fifa wrote to the NFA to express its unhappiness with the appointment of the committee of eminent persons (CEP) – an independent committee installed by the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) to help investigate and come forth with recommendations that will help start football and mend the strained relations between the NFA and the Namibia Premier League (NPL).
Fifa warned that should government through the CEP continue to intervene in football affairs, Namibia runs the risk of being suspended from international participation and all other related Fifa membership benefits.
But last Thursday Tjongarero responded to Fifa’s threats and wrote directly to Samoura to maintain that Namibia is a sovereign state with its laws and a Sports Act that governs all local sports federations, including the NFA.
In her letter last Thursday, the minister further told Samoura that as a ministry they have a national mandate to transform and create sustainable jobs through sports, particularly through football, and as a result, it is thus incumbent upon her ministry to intervene and help start football.
“Our ministry has been set a target of contributing 2% to the employment rate of the country by 2022 and naturally, football as the biggest sport code of our country should be at the forefront of our developmental initiatives ... therefore, as custodian of sport in Namibia, it cannot be expected of us to remain idle in the face of this debilitating impasse,” Tjongarero told Samoura in her last letter to Fifa.
But in Tuesday’s response to Tjongarero, an uncompromising Samoura reiterated Fifa’s earlier stance that it will not accept undue influence or entertain any decisions passed by third parties/bodies that have not been elected or appointed in the local football association.
“This being said, NFA is a member association of Fifa and therefore must abide to Fifa Statutes. It implies notably that member associations have to ensure they organise and supervise football in all of its forms in their respective countries.
Each member association shall manage its affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties, and decisions passed by bodies that have not been elected or appointed in that association shall not be recognised by Fifa. Accordingly, the NFA shall control and supervise all forms of football at national level and ensure that there only be one top-tier national league on the territory of Namibia … In our instance, the NFA general assembly as supreme decision-making body decided to expel the NPL following its statutory prerogatives. Even more, the NPL apparently accepted the said expulsion and did not submit any appeal before the relevant competent arbitration tribunal, as foreseen by the NFA statutes.”
“In this context, and for the sake of stability in Namibian football, I reiterate Fifa’s position that the existence of a breakaway league in Namibia is unacceptable and that all leagues on the territory of the NFA must be subordinated to, and recognised by the NFA.
Going forward, the Fifa administration is working closely with the NFA to normalise the situation as soon as possible. I am convinced that our efforts together with your trust in solving the situation shortly will guarantee stability for football,” said Samoura.