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FIFA Threatens To Expel Namibia From World' Body

NPL - football clubs
FIFA says Namibia's football scandal could result in sanctions, including expulsion, should government continue to meddle in the country's football affairs. Fifa has noted that government has become embroiled in the issue of the Namibia Football Association's expulsion of the Namibia Premier League as a member. 

The world football mother body is uncomfortable with the committee of eminent persons (CEP) the Namibia Sports Commission formed last month at the behest of sport minister Agnes Tjongarero 'to find long-lasting solutions' to the country's perennial football disputes. 

“While encouraging the collaboration of its member associations with their local state authorities in the collective interest of football, Fifa must also recall that all member associations must be able to organise and carry out their football-related activities in accordance with the requirements of their statutory/regulatory framework and in full autonomy, failing which they would lose all or part of their rights as members of Fifa,” wrote Fifa's chief member associations officer Veron Mosengo-Omba to the Namibia Football Association (NFA) on Wednesday. 

The NFA forwarded Fifa's concerns to the sports commission on Thursday. The CEP, which has until the end of the first week of October to make its recommendations to Tjongarero, is tasked with cajoling the NFA to review its position on the NPL. The NFA has previously indicated that it will not go back on its decision to expel the NPL for repeated insubordination and breach of membership agreement. Twice, the NPL took the NFA to a civil court, which is against Fifa regulations. 

The NPL has also refused to heed Fifa-endorsed directives from the NFA, resulting in suspension at February's NFA congress and subsequent expulsion at an extraordinary congress in July. The sports commission, government's sport regulatory branch, was present at both meetings and found nothing untoward. However, they, and Tjongarero, continue to entertain the NPL's push for recognition as a second national football body and/or professional league independent of the NFA. 

“In this respect, we would like to recall that Fifa member associations are, in fact, bound by statute to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties,” said Mosengo-Omba. In August, Fifa said a breakaway football league, as envisaged by the NPL, was unacceptable and only recognises the NFA to “organise and supervise football in all of its forms” in the country. The NFA is constructing a new top-flight division, an exercise that has evoked a contrasting reception from clubs on either side of the football war. 

“Any breach of these obligations might lead to potential sanctions as provided for in the Fifa statutes, including the suspension of the member association,” Mosengo-Omba continued. “Moreover, and in relation to the aforementioned, we would like to emphasise that any violations of the Fifa statutes may also lead to sanctions, even if the third-party influence was not the fault of the member association concerned.” Should the NPL want the expulsion addressed, they should seek recourse with the Court for Arbitration for Sports (CAS) where they have an application challenging their suspension. 

The NPL appealed to CAS after losing applications against the NFA at the Namibia High and Supreme courts. The minister rejected suggestions she is backing the NPL's cause even though commissioning the CEP gives the expelled body a lifeline. It also suggests she disregards the authority or competence of the NFA's congress. She stopped the sports commission from making public its ruling on the NPL's application in favour of establishing the CEP. 

“In view of the aforementioned, in the event that any decision was to be taken by governmental authorities pertaining to the situation at hand based on any purported recommendations from the said appointed committee, we shall submit the present case to the relevant competent body at Fifa for decision, including the suspension of the NFA,” Mosengo-Omba cautioned. 

Tjongarero, who has already had elaborate talks with both parties with no success, refused to entertain a query on Fifa's position on the draining saga. “Where's the letter from the NFA to Fifa? I'm sorry, I cannot answer that question as I do not know what was in the NFA's letter to Fifa,” Tjongarero said when she activated the CEP
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