Chaos Claims NPL Awards

The protracted feud between African Stars and the Namibia Premier League has led to the cancellation of the MTC NPL Awards ceremony.

League chairman Johnny Doeumlseb announced on Wednesday that the season-ending ceremony to honour the country’s best achievers in football had been “called off indefinitely” due to the ongoing dispute, which has seen the end of the 2013-14 season held up.

The event was due to take place in Windhoek on Friday.

“We have taken this decision after consultation with our main sponsor MTC, where we also briefed them on the developments regarding the African Stars issue,” Doeumlseb said in a prudently-worded statement to the media.

“Our sponsors have been understanding and patient thus far and we would like to commend them for accommodating us to deal with this matter to the best of our ability. Having said this, we are however aware that we need to speedily, but thoroughly bring this matter to finality, so that we do not damage the name and good reputation of the beautiful brand associated to football, which is that of our sponsor,” added Doeumlseb.

In his statement, Doeumlseb, who described the situation as “deplorable”, criticised African Stars for the chaotic end to the domestic season due to the club’s persistence with the dispute beyond football arbitration structures.

He also insists that the NPL will not bow to Stars’ pressure to go back on their decision to have the abandoned match between the latter and Orlando Pirates replayed for eight minutes.

After seeing two appeals shot down by the Namibia Football Association, Stars, who want to replay the full match, have applied to the High Court to obtain an interdict to have the conclusion of the league delayed until their case is heard.

This move has placed Fifa on high alert, with the world football mother body said to have issued the NFA an ultimatum earlier this week.

“Although the MTC NPL Awards were scheduled to take place this Friday, regrettably, same shall not proceed as planned. This is owing to the fact that African Stars has taken the issue of football to court. Regardless of the above deplorable situation, our soccer loving nation is hereby informed that their application which they lodged in the High Court has been duly opposed by us,” Doeumlseb said.

“In the same vein, it is our sincere hope that a precedent consistent with the decisions taken across the globe in similar matters, which too is in line with the values of Fifa, shall be set and adopted by the honourable court in this instant matter,” he added.

Although MTC have chosen to recuse themselves in the dispute, they have indicated that they are wary of the negative implications it brings towards their standing.

“We have no jurisdiction over this matter. We will therefore not interfere in any way. We have however appealed to the football authorities to ensure that this matter is finalised as quickly as possible and in the fairest manner because whatever is decided now will forever become a point of reference in the future when similar incidences occur,” MTC spokesperson Tim Ekandjo said.

“Against this background, it is therefore of paramount importance to ensure that the right tone and precedence is set and even if it does take a little longer than expected to have the matter finalised. We have also communicated to the NPL that this ongoing saga is not good for our brand and that they must at all times ensure that our brand is protected as provided for in terms of the sponsorship agreement surviving between us. This is however a good test for the rules and durability of our football authorities and the game of football and therefore an experience that they should cherish and importantly take learnings from,” Ekandjo said.

Source : The Namibian