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Mbidi Will Fork Out Thousands After Losing Court Appeal

Former NFA president Frans Mbidi. Photo: NAMPA
Former Namibia Football Association head Frans Mbidi will have to fork out thousands more after losing his Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal against the defunct Fifa Normalisation Committee (FNC) this week. Mbidi paid the price for misdirecting his grievances over being excluded from February's NFA presidential race.

Mbidi, who has already spent close to N$400 000 in legal fees on the matter filed to invalidate Ranga Haikali's ascendancy to the NFA presidency, was ordered to bear the unspecified cost of the failed arbitration by CAS sole arbitrator Ulrich Haas. In the award, Haas said Mbidi declined several times to reconsider directing his appeal against the NFA and not the Fifa Normalisation Committee, which seized to exist in March.

“However, the appellant refused to amend his prayers for relief and – in particular – objected to direct his appeal against the NFA. “As the sole arbitrator is bound to the requests of parties, there is no other option than to reject the appeal filed by the appellant against the FNC for lack of jurisdiction,” Haas ruled. The FNC oversaw the vetting for the NFA's elective congress. Mbidi was rendered ineligible to stand as a presidential candidate for the elections on the basis that he had already served his permitted two terms on the NFA executive committee.

Mbidi was NFA president from 4 December 2014 to 5 December 2018, while he served on the committee as head of Oshana region prior to that. He objected against his exclusion. The same applied to Namibia Premier League chairperson Patrick Kauta and ex-North East First Division stream equivalent Mpasi Haingura who jointly filed a mirror appeal which was struck off the court roll in May.

Kauta was disqualified from contesting the elections because he is an active member of the suspended NPL, while he also participated in the illegal removal of then sitting president Mbidi. Haingura failed the vetting on the latter allegation. The FNC received 68 nominations for the NFA presidential position, with only Haikali and one-time running mate Johnny Johnson Doëseb emerging from the screening process.

Haikali was overwhelmingly voted into power by 22 of the 24 members. Following the two failed applications against the NFA, one more remains on CAS' register. The NPL also petitioned CAS following its suspension and subsequent exclusion from February's NFA Congress. When withdrawing his appeal in May, Kauta requested that the 10 000 Swiss franc (roughly N$182 000 at the time) he paid as advance of costs be transferred to the NPL appeal.

CAS granted him this request. However, that case looks likely to go the same way as the preceding two with Kauta reportedly indicating they may abort the appeal following the NPL's dismissal as an NFA member last month.

Meanwhile, Mbidi must now pay his own legal fees and other expenses incurred in connection with the arbitration proceedings. His outstanding CAS bill includes “the CAS Court Office fee; administrative costs of the CAS calculated in accordance with the CAS scale; the costs and fees of the arbitrators; the fees of the ad hoc clerk, if any, calculated in accordance with the CAS fee scale; a contribution towards the expenses of the CAS; and the costs of witnesses, experts and interpreters”.
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