African Stars Table Appeal Arguments

The country’s football authorities are left with egg on the face in the aftermath of the long-standing saga between Katutura troubled outfit, African Stars and the Namibian flagship league, Namibia Premier League (NPL).

Last month, the NPL convened an Extra-Ordinary General Assembly Meeting (EOGAM) to decide, inter alia, on the cessation of membership of the aggrieved club from all football-related activities.

Surprisingly, the club was invited to make representations against alleged complaints that it disregarded the Constitution of the NPL, NFA Rules, read with FIFA Statutes and Disciplinary Code.

NPL alleged Stars wrongfully perpetrated the following acts, that on 6 May this year, the club violated the Constitution of NPL that proscribes and bars the lodging of any proceedings in the court of law of any issues or disputes relating to football.

It further reads that, “Following the dismissal of Stars appeal on 16 June 2014, the club, in further violation of the Constitution again lodged another Notice of Motion under Case Number A 1442014, wherein it prayed that the Appeal’s Committee’s decision be set aside as it had argued that its appeal of 6 May was successful as contemplated under Rule 38.5”.

The parties cited in that Application were NFA and NPL, which opposed the same. That Application was subsequently struck off the Roll with costs by the High Court on account of lack of urgency.

Subsequently, the aggrieved club was requested to show cause in writing, why its membership in the NPL may not be cancelled as provided for in terms of Article 10 of the NPL Constitution and further cautioned that its representation will constitute the right to be heard.

Stars duly made its written representation, where it raised the issue that it exhausted all internal remedies and urged the NPL EOGAM to set aside the decision of the NPL MC.

However, the Chairman of NPL EOGAM, Johnny “JJD” Doeseb, without any hearing and finding on the alleged accusations, suggested to delegates to decide what is best for football by voting for the cessation of Stars’ membership.

The club remains adamant that fundamental fault-lines were committed, which seriously weakened the premise of the decision of NPL EOGAM and resolved to explore the following fault-lines. Stars claim the NPL Constitution must be read at all times together with that of the NFA, FIFA and subject to the NFA Rules and Regulation.

It says it was demonstrably obvious to NPL EOGAM that there was no complaint against our club in accordance with Rule 32 of the NFA Rules.

“The second fault-line is that the NPL EOGAM, assumed, without a hearing and a finding that we were guilty, that the acts allegedly complained was in law wrongful, despite the fact that we did not admit the wrongfulness of the alleged compliant, in accordance with the NFA Rules. In acting in this manner, the NPL and the respondents undoubtedly were judges in their own course, conflicted and vacated the whole process.

“This is fatal because the minutes demonstrably prove that the NPL acted ultra vires and disregarded the rules of natural justice, the NFA Constitution, NPL Constitution and the NFA Rules”.

Stars argues that the NPL EOGAM terminating Stars membership by a vote, NPL had no jurisdiction in terms of its own constitution over Stars to issue the 2, 3 and 5 orders. The absence of a complaint is fatal because it removes and obviates the necessity of holding an EOGAM by the NPL and any subsequent orders namely 1, 2, 3 and 5.

Any hearing must be preceded by a charge in accordance with NFA Rule 33.2 while a disciplinary hearing must commence not later than ten (10) days from the date the charge is served on a club. Failure to comply with NFA Rule 33.3 leads to the conclusion that there was no misconduct committed.

“We submit with respect that the NFA Rules envisaged an independent Chairperson, the Complainant presenting its case first and the club charged given a platform to challenge the evidence presented through cross-examination and re-examination of witnesses.

Stars claim there is no authority in the NFA Rules or in the NPL Constitution empowering the league to impose the sanctions in the circumstances it did after termination of membership.

“Our club was neither asked to make representation nor given an opportunity to respond to questions and by doing so, the NPL EOGAM was on a ‘frolic’, the one which Courts discourage, or be it in a different but instructive context, concludes the statement.

Source : New Era