WINDHOEK – In a strongly-worded 10-page letter addressed to the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), a disgruntled Namibia Premier League (NPL) this week wrote to both parties to declare a “national dispute”, informing them of its decision to seek refuge through a process of arbitration.
The lengthy letter, seen by New Era Sport, says the NPL’s decision to declare a national dispute stems from the NFA’s decision of 15 July, in which the football association said: “FIFA has endorsed that no promotions or relegation will take place in Namibian football for the upcoming season, which means that teams that were in the relegation positions in the 2018/2019 Namibia Premier league season will also form part of the new season.”
The NPL, in this week’s letter, strongly rejects the NFA’s stance on the relegation and promotion process, where the NFA seeks to reinstate relegated Orlando Pirates and Civics and possibly the demoted Young African, although African’s future in topflight football remains undetermined.
In their letter, the NPL say: “The entire decision and its reasons are attached hereto marked ‘A’. The applicant takes issue with portion of the decision underlined above for reasons that appear herein. The applicant reserves the right to augment the reasons at an appropriate forum. Take further notice that the NPL, inter alia, relies on the following grounds to impugn the decision: 4.1. The first respondent [NFA] is functus officio because of its 8 November 2018 decision. 4.2. The underlined part of the decision in above is void for vagueness in that it states that there are no promotions or relegation for the upcoming season (2019/2020) but qualifies that statement impermissibly to mean that relegated clubs from the 2018/2019 season are part of the new season (2019/2020). It impermissibly ignores the NPL’s disciplinary judgment of 22 January 2019 against Young African Football Club. The decision of 15 July 2019 is vitiated by conflicts of interest and or alternatively bias or ulterior motives.”
The league further argues: “The decision is further vitiated by the first respondent’s [NFA] failure to comply with the principles of natural justice in that it departed from its prior decision of 8 November 2018 without granting the applicant an opportunity to be heard in contravention of applicant’s legitimate expectation in circumstances where its decision of 8 November 2018 was complied with. The first respondent in taking the decision acted contrary to its own statutes and rules, in that it is not a judicial body and cannot review to itself. Even if we are wrong on the grounds advanced above (which is denied), the applicant pleads that the first respondent is estoppeled by conduct from amending the rules on promotion and relegation seven (7) days after the final log standing of the NPL. The NFA is not entitled to amend the rules on promotion and relegation retrospectively; impermissibly confirms an endorsement of its own clandestine decision in circumstances not provided for by its enabling statutes and rules. The [NFA] is not entitled to in effect promote the three relegated clubs without sporting merit.”
“Please take further notice that the applicant calls upon the first respondent to comply with the provisions of Article 63 (ii) within seven (7) days hereof… take notice that the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) is joined to this national dispute due to the substantial interest it has in this matter by virtue of Section 3(1) (c) of the Namibia Sports Act and the fact that the NPL will seek a declarator at the Arbitration that the NFA contravened Section 28(1) of the Act and NSC must within 30 days of the order enforce the provision of Section 218(2) and (3).”