WINDHOEK – Gobabis-based club Young African FC, which was recently fined a combined fine of N$50 000 and demoted to 2nd tier football by the Namibia Premier League (NPL) Disciplinary Committee for fraudulently registering and using a player with tampered identity documents last season, yesterday again wrote a letter to the league’s vice-chairman Bonni Paulino.
Following the NPL’s Disciplinary Committee resolution to demote African, the club’s next alternative was to approach the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Appeal Committee, where the league’s Disciplinary Committee decision was to be challenged as provided for in the NPL constitution.
The club submitted their appeal with the NFA and was told that the local football federation does not have an Appeals Committee in place as well as other judicial bodies, which the NFA is constitutionally obliged to have in place to resolve such cases.
Reason provided by the NFA for the absence of judicial committees, including the appeals committee is that the beleaguered association currently does not have any executive organs in place, which are responsible for the appointment of the various judicial and standing committees.
The appointment of judicial committees is the responsibility of the NFA executive committee and congress, but the Namibian football mother body is currently on autopilot as it has not executive structures in place following the departure of the previous members.
Speaking through their lawyers Murorua Kurtz Kasper (MKK) Incorporated, African yesterday wrote to the league’s vice-chairman Paulino appointing out that the club is yet to exercise their constitutional right of challenging the NPL Disciplinary Committee decision with the NFA Appeals Committee as such a structure is no longer in existence.
The club, in yesterday’s letter, also said the likelihood of submitting their appeal to the NFA remains in jeopardy as the likelihood of NFA having a properly constituted Appeals Committee in place appears uncertain due to the sorry state of affairs the leaderless local football association finds itself in.
As a result, the club is demanding that the league reinstates them until the NFA put its house in order by establishing the required judicial bodies, which will then accord them an opportunity to exercise their constitutional right of launching their appeal against the league Disciplinary Committee’s decision.
The Jurisdiction of the CAS in domestic disputes as per FIFA Statutes
Pursuant to Article 66 of FIFA Statutes, FIFA explicitly recognizes the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to resolve disputes between FIFA, members, confederations, leagues, clubs, players, officials and licensed match agents and players’ agents.
Further, Article 67(1) of the FIFA Statutes provides that appeals against final decisions passed by FIFA’s legal bodies and against decisions passed by confederations, members or leagues shall be lodged with CAS within 21 days of notification of the decision in question.
Interestingly, Article 67(2) of FIFA Statutes states that recourse may only be made to CAS after all other internal channels have been exhausted, which in this case Young African have not yet fully exhausted as the NFA’s Appeals Committee is yet to hear their case – thus their appeal cannot be submitted to CAS before entirely draining internal avenues.
Kauta and NPL prosecutor contradicting each other
On 24 January, as per of the NPL’s Disciplinary Committee decision when African was demoted, the Disciplinary Committee also instructed that “the points African gained while using the fraudulently registered player be forfeited and must be awarded to the opponents whom they were playing against for each match”.
But in a follow up press conference, NPL chairman Patrick Kauta contradicted the league’s Disciplinary Committee decision to deduct points from African and award them to its opponents, when he announced that no points will be awarded to clubs that faced African last season but the decision to demote African will however stand.
Many clubs, including Tigers and relegated Young Chiefs, have since come out seeking clarity as who which decision stands, is the Disciplinary Committee decision to deduct and award points or Kauta’s decision not to award points but to only demote African as the two NPL members have been contradicting each other.