Put in simple terms, the National Sport Appeals Committee yesterday ruled that the decision by the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC) not to grant the Namibia Premier League (NPL) a licence to operate a professional football league is oxymoron, unlawful and it outright affronts the Namibian constitution, the Namibia Sports Act and the basic principles of common law.
In a landmark ruling, the committee yesterday further moved to set aside the NSC’s decision of last year not to approve the NPL’s application, and gave the commission 30 days (until 30 April 2021) to review and correct its decision.
The committee, in its ruling, found that the NSC’s decision was taken at an improperly constituted meeting as there are no supporting documents or minutes proving a meeting where such a decision was taken, and also found that the NSC contravened its own rules, as contained in the Sport Act, when it took the decision.
Not only that, the committee – which is chaired by lawyer Loini Shikale-Ambondo – further found that the NSC’s decision to reject the NPL’s application on the basis that the Namibia Football Association (NFA) should be or is already the only sport body responsible for the code of football is contradictory.
The committee pointed out that the NSC itself set a precedent when it approved and recognised two separate sport bodies for the sport of angling when it recognised the Namibia Federation for Freshwater Anglers and the Namibia Seawater Angling Federation – which are both co-existing and serving the sport code of angling.
Therefore, especially when considering the precedent set by the NSC with the recognition of the two angling sport bodies, the committee highlighted that NSC’s argument that the NPL application could not be approved because such an approval would have seen the NPL crisscrossing the NFA’s mandate holds no water as the likelihood is there for both the NPL and NFA to co-exist as two bodies uniquely serving the same sport code.
Furthermore, an example of the relationship between the German Football Association (GFA) and the German Football League (GFL) was put forth as a classic example of two entities serving the same sport code but using different modus operandi.
Besides the countless inconsistencies displayed by the NSC when it arrived at the decision to reject the application, the committee yesterday further pointed out that the NSC’s decision was unlawful and against the spirit of the Namibian constitution, the Sport Act and the principles of common law.
The NSC was also reminded by the committee that its mandate as provided for in Section 3(1) (d) (e) of the Namibia Sport Act; “is to promote the highest standards of sportsmanship” and “to ensure that opportunities of sport are made available to all persons throughout Namibian”.
The committee, in addition, argued that Section 26 of the Namibia Sport Act does not expressively state that the NSC can only register one sport body per sport code, because the Act under Section 26 speaks of “national sports bodies” and “national umbrella sports bodies” – therefore it will all come down to interpretation as the Act is silent on how many sport bodies can or should serve one sport code.
In the end, the committee after setting aside the NSC’s decision, ruled that the commission will be given 30 days (until 30 April 2021) to review and correct its earlier decision and revert to the NPL with a final answer.