NPL to End After Court Dismisses Stars Application

Namibia Football Association secretary-general Barry Rukoro said the MTC Premiership will conclude its programme in the coming weeks after acting Judge Petrus Unengu struck African Stars’ application off the High Court roll on Thursday.

A week after granting an interim order to have the conclusion of the Namibia Premier League put on hold, the judge ruled that Stars failed to demonstrate urgency in resolving the matter and consequently struck the club’s application off the court roll.

This means Stars’ protracted case, which has disrupted the end of the premier league’s 2013-14 season, still has not been heard and that the impasse could continue indefinitely should Stars choose to further pursue the matter.

While Stars and the NPL have yet to officially react to the ruling, Rukoro declared that “football will continue” and that the NFA will see to it that the league programme – which includes the resumption of the abandoned match between Stars and Orlando Pirates that is at the heart of the dispute, the crowning of the league winners and the season-ending MTC NPL awards ceremony, which was called-off last week – is finally concluded.

“The league will now put the procedures in motion whereby the awards ceremony will be held and the deserved winners will be awarded accordingly,” Rukoro told reporters outside the High Court in Windhoek yesterday.

Rukoro also said he expects that the NPL will enforce its initial ruling that the abandoned match between Stars and Orlando Pirates on 16 April be played for the remaining minutes instead of replaying the entire match, which is what Stars want.

The match ended about eight minutes before full time according to the NPL – or 12 minutes early, according to African Stars – due to a power cut that left the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura, where the match was being played, in darkness.

Due to the power outage, the referee decided to abandon the match.

“That ruling stands because according to our position as the football association having dealt with the appeal, and that appeal having been fraudulent, that position was not challenged and therefore the next step for the league is to issue a date for that (game to be concluded),” Rukoro said.

Thursday’s ruling is likely to have averted a stringent Fifa intervention, which a relieved Rukoro admitted to as much.

Fifa are reported to have issued an ultimatum to the NFA last week, threatening to expel the country from its roster should they fail to resolve the matter swiftly within football structures.

“Fifa has all the confidence in the football association of Namibia to deal with this matter conclusively and there’s no doubt that we will do so. We know that Fifa will monitor the situation but we know that they will not interfere until it becomes absolutely necessary,” said the football administrator.

Rukoro, who accused Stars of holding football hostage, also conceded that while Namibia’s football authorities may have won the battle to get the domestic season concluded, the war may not be over.

“African Stars have the freedom to bring this matter back to court on a normal basis, which means it can be dealt with at any other time which the court may so feel. A new application from African Stars should be made along the normal lines of appealing to the High Court of Namibia,” he said.

“As a football association, we have been very very fair. And I think overly fair towards African Stars in this matter.

“We aised, we warned, we begged. We did everything possible in the spirit of fair play, which is central to the nature of our game.

“But for one or the other reason, African Stars chose to do whatever they want in their own arrogant way.

Unfortunately it is holding the game to ransom at the moment, but we beg the football people in this country to bear with us, to bear with the procedures of democracy in this country so that eventually football will be the winner,” said Rukoro.

Source : The Namibian