Allow me space in your esteemed newspaper to raise my personal views on the legal fracas that has found its way in Namibian football.
Through the building blocks of football are the athletic skills of the players and the mortar holding these blocks together is a nexus of contracts between the players, clubs, league and the Namibian Football Association (NFA).
The constitutions of the Namibian Premier League (NPL) and NFA ought to provide foundational support for the structure and governance of Namibian football. NFA and NPL cannot operate in a vacuum - without proper legal structures.
NFA established the power of the pater familias within the Namibian football community and it is its duty to establish the mechanism for the resolution of disputes like the Players Status Committee, National Dispute Resolution Chambers (NDRC), all the standing committees as per article 42 of the NFA constitution and judicial bodies as per article 58, which includes the Appeal Committee.
All these structures do not exist nor are they properly functional in today’s Namibian football. These structures are the cardinal pillars of the existence of our football but how did we allow our football to take place for years without its cardinal pillars?
It is my submission that we have a serious crisis in our football, brought upon the fraternity by people who egotistically think the game belongs to them personally by abusing and raping the system by bribing those with the voting card.
It is time for us to get the cat out of the bag. The chairman and vice-chairman of the NPL are lawyers by profession. The chairman happens to be part of the executive committee of the NFA, a structure which denied a club like Young African FC the right to appeal as they fail to establish the appeal committee and other legal structures.
This was done out of arrogance and the fact that they all fear to hold accountable the secretary-general of the NFA regarding the implementation of these structures. It is a disgrace that legal minds are running football yet they allow a bulldozer to direct them where to go. I respect the rule of law and the audio alteram partem principle.
The secretary-general of the NFA has no power to write to Young African FC and direct them to refer the case to Tribunal Arbitral du Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland without the appeal being listened to as per the NPL Constitution’s Article 53.1 which states: “The NFA Appeal Committee is responsible for hearing appeals against decisions from the NPL Disciplinary Committee.” Sub-section 2 of the same article stated: “Decision pronounced by the Appeal Committee may be appealed to the Arbitration of NFA, or in the absence of such tribunal, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in Lausanne, Switzerland, as specified in this Constitution…..”.
In simple terms it means there must be an Appeal Committee as per Article 61 of NFA constitution and also an arbitration of NFA as per Article 63 of the NFA constitution. These are two separate bodies which are tasked to have different jurisdictions.
Young African FC has the right to seek justice through the Namibian High Court to compel the NFA Appeal Committee to listen to its case. They must first exhaust all local channels before moving on to the next step, which is Cas. Why Fifa and Caf are made party to the case is the fact that it is the duty of these two bodies to compel their member (NFA) to establish these structures. Young African FC’s legal representatives must be careful with their submission to the High Court as this is not an easy case.
I know they have a chance to ask for an interdict against the league until their appeal case is heard on urgent basis.
Unfortunately, the Young African FC leadership was not very vocal in the past for these structures to be established, now to their deteriment. In Otjiherero we say “oKuhina kutjiua kuanjaa esena, Tjitjikutuara kePembe kotjii, aUhetji moTjimunu”.
Other clubs and anyone from football must learn from these happenings and put facts ahead of emotions.
I wonder why MTC, FNB, Standard Bank, Debmariene and Namibian Breweries spend their money in a chaotic system as this. I rest my case!
*Olsen Kahiriri is a graduate in the Masters of Sports Management and Law at Instituto Superior de Derechoy Economia (ISDE) Barcelona Spain in 2018. These are his personal views as a labour and sports