The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in favour of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) by dismissing the case lodged with it by the Namibia Premier League.

A long-running dispute between the NFA and NPL started at the end of the 2018/19 football season. At the centre of the dispute was a disagreement when the NPL wanted to relegate three teams from the league, but the NFA didn’t want the teams to be relegated.

The NPL argued that according to its laws the three teams at the bottom of the league had to be relegated, so that three teams from the lower division be promoted to the top league.

However the NFA contended that the three teams, namely Civics FC, Orlando Pirates FC and Young African FC cannot be relegated because the lower divisions have not been in action during the previous season (which was because the funds that were provided by FIFA for the 1st & 2nd Divisions were used for some other activities by the previous NFA Executive Members.)

The NPL stuck to their guns. Then the NFA made a decision to expel the NPL from NFA and to exclude them from participating in any organized football let alone attend any NFA Congresses.

On 16 March 2020 the NPL lodged a case at CAS, asking the Court of Arbitration for Sport to set aside the NFA’s decision to expel it, and also to declare as illegal all the elections for the NFA leadership which took place at the Congresses where the NPL was not represented as a result of its expulsion.

As a result CAS made a ruling, dated 21 June 2021, by the Sole Arbitrator Prof. Luigi Fumagalli at Lausanne, Switzerland, dismissing the case of the NPL, and giving an order that the NPL must pay for all the costs incurred by the arbitration process (excluding legal fees).

However in the ruling, which is 25 pages long, the CAS Arbitrator was not so much clear as to why he was ruling against the NPL.

All along in the ruling the Arbitrator is presenting facts of the case indicating favourability to the Appellant (NPL), but then suddenly at bullet point number 109 he decides to rule in favour of the Respondent (NFA) by stating that questions of the case are “of a purely academic nature” of which he is not “provided to render abstract opinions”.

Then at 110 the Arbitrator fails to explain why he agrees with Respondent that it is not irregular for the suspension not to have been confirmed at the next Congress. In fact he is seen to be contradicting his earlier statement at 108 that: “The NFA Statutes, in fact, do not appear to allow for the interpretation advanced by the Respondent, that the ‘next Congress’ mentioned in such provision is in any case the ‘next ordinary Congress’.  On the contrary, the severity of the consequences deriving for a member from a suspension commands a prompt examination of the issue at the next Congress, be that ordinary or extraordinary” (which was not done).

Chairman of the expelled NPL Mr Patrick Kauta released a statement in response to the CAS ruling (see article titled “NPL Partially Accepts CAS Ruling”).

In the photo: The logo of Namibia Football Association (NFA).