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New Soccer League For Namibia

Windhoek - More than 4,000 soccer players across Namibia wait anxiously to find out where they will next ply their trade after the Namibian Football Association (NFA) expelled the Namibian Premier League (NPL) as an affiliate.

The NFA last Saturday told footballers and other stakeholders that a new league would be established. The expulsion is the culmination of a boardroom soap opera stretching to 2018/2019 when the league administrators ignored an NFA directive to retain the status of Civics and Orlando Pirates for the new season. At the weekend, the NFA’s Haikali said, “The annual general meeting overwhelmingly voted to expel the NPL from being an affiliate member of the NFA.

The Namibia Football Association (NFA) gathered on Saturday 18 July 2020 to expelled the Namibia Premier League (NPL) as a member for bringing the association into disrepute.
We would not have liked things to reach this level, but this is now the way forward. “The NFA will set up a new desk that will manage a new league and clubs in the country will be given a chance to join the new structures and play football under the NFA… “I cannot speak for NPL but it's definite that they are not part of our structures. They can find ways of appealing and dealing with this in their own way, but football matters do not go to court.

NFA held 16th Extra-Ordinary Congress in Windhoek on 18 July 2020 to terminate the membership of the Namibia Premier League and some of its Executive Committee members after the NFA Executive Committee’s proposal to expel them. The expled persons are Patrick Kauta, Peter Nakura, Gabriel Tjombe, Bonnie Paulino and NPL CEO Harald Fuller.  The votes by Congress were 19 in favour and 2 against the expulsion. Article 15 of the NFA Constitution empowers the Congress to expel any member or member of affiliate.

“All clubs will be engaged and given the opportunity to play football under the structures of the NFA in the future and that is the way forward.” Haikali said authorities were thrashing out ways to ensure there would be no disruptions to African Cup of Nations, CHAN and World Cup qualification campaigns. The league has been on pause for much of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in a freeze of most sporting activities across the world. While the expelled league executive has been told it can set up its own rival structure should they so desire, the chances of that happening are very slim as they would need to attract financial backing.

Further, international football governing body FIFA does not recognise privately-run leagues. In 2018 when rumours emerged that some European football powerhouses were thinking of establishing a breakaway league, FIFA president Gianni Infantino reportedly said: “Either you are in or you are out. This includes everything." FIFA legal director Alasdair Bell added: “The idea is if you break away, you break away. You don’t keep one foot in and one foot out. That would be the general approach we would follow, but of course lawyers can debate this for a long time.”

MTC's Tim Ekandjo was at pains describing the expulsion of the Namibia Premier League (NPL) through a resolution at the 16th extra-ordinary congress of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) over the weekend. During a brief presser in the capital yesterday, Ekandjo announced that MTC has taken a decision to backtrack on their promise of holding on to the N$15 million budget allotted to the NPL for the dormant 2019/20 season until September this year with the hope that the league would have then sorted out its scuffles with its mother body NFA.

Following the league's expulsion by the FA at the weekend, a move that has since technically reduced NPL to levels of a "bush league", MTC has now thought it wise to immediately terminate its historic 16-year old relationship with the league and the N$15 million budget earlier reserved for the start of the league has also been revoked with effect. "You would recall that MTC already announced that we will not renew our contract with the NPL once the season comes to an end. The current season was supposed to have ended in May 2020, however, we were more than generous to give the NPL four extra months till the end of September 2020, to either get the league started or forfeit their entire budget," he said.

Reflecting on MTC's commitment and investment into the NPL for the last 16 years, Ekandjo said it was a sad episode for football and a revered legacy gone down the drain - something the leadership of football must live with and account for. "We kept our promise, however, now that the NPL is officially expelled by the NFA and therefore now a non-existent body, this automatically makes any agreement we had with the NPL null and void and they have therefore by virtue of their expulsion forfeited their entire budget and any other obligations we might have with them.

We will no longer be holding this budget till end of September and this will bring our 16-year old relationship in which we invested over N$168 million to a very sad end. It is indeed a sad development for football seeing that MTC and NPL shared a rich history that spans for many years, and seeing it going down the drain in this manner is rather disappointing and a decision the leadership of football will have to live with." MTC recently announced N$13.5 million sponsorship towards the MTC NFA Cup for the next three years and have taken over the Dr Hage Geingob Cup and the MTC Hopsol Youth Soccer League amongst other sports codes.
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