Both the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and the expelled Namibia Premier League (NPL) have until Wednesday to respond to the various recommendations made to them by the Committee of Eminent Persons (CEP), and one party has since responded while one has asked for an extension.
Chairperson of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Joel Matheus yesterday confirmed to New Era Sport that so far only the NPL managed to meet the deadline of Wednesday, 18 November, in comprehensively responding to the various recommendations made by the CEP and that the NFA has requested for an extension to the deadline.
“I can confirm that so far only the NPL submitted their response to the CEP on Wednesday, which was the deadline. But we have been in touch with the NFA and they requested an extension to the deadline and we agreed to give them an extension. They (NFA) promised to submit their reply to the CEP recommendations by early next week. So we are confident and hopeful the NFA will reply by next week as discussed,” said Matheus.
He added that he was impressed with the cooperation given by both the NFA and NPL towards the work of the CEP and further expressed confidence that both parties will find a positive closure to the protracted stalemate and finally see the return of local football and the restoration of the harmonious relationship between the two entities.
Regarding the NPL, the CEP said the league should consider withdrawing their case filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to allow for peace and give dialogue a chance. CEP also recommended that the NPL should consider deregistering the section 21 professional league and in addition, commit to fully subordinate themselves to the statutes and leadership of the NFA as the sole regulator of all forms of football in Namibia.
The CEP also recommended that the NPL reviews its statutes and all members/clubs to have an equal say and participation in decision-making as it appears that only the league’s executive committee makes all the decisions, with little participation from the Board of Governors (BoG).
Among the many recommendations, the CEP further recommended that the NPL and NFA should formalise their relationship by way of a memorandum of agreement or licensing agreement for the running of the premier and first division leagues.
Meanwhile, regarding the NFA the CEP advised that there is no need for the NFA to start another top tier league and there is equally no need for the NPL to move ahead with its section 21 professional league, as there is still room for both entities to mend their relationship, if both are willing to compromise for the greater good of Namibian football.
The CEP also found that the NFA’s executive committee and congress prematurely suspended and then subsequently expelled the NPL without having given the league an opportunity to state its case, which is against all principles of natural justice.
CEP further found that the NFA did not have any legal organs in place to help remedy the situation between the two bodies and that further compounded the football impasse.
The CEP also asked the NFA to clarify the disciplinary procedure when a member or affiliate is found wanting. The committee suggested that the NFA should consider amending Article 15 or add provisions that clearly indicate what happens when such a member (NPL) is suspended/expelled and cannot conduct any football business. CEP also referred the NFA to a similar case between the Namibia Rugby Union and its affiliate Namibia Rugby Limited, where all stakeholders involved in the fights were reconciled through talks, rather than in court.