Dispute throws Nam’s PSL into disarray


Windhoek ‑ Two weeks after the Namibia Premier Soccer League came to an end, no team has been named as the winner of the 2013/14 season due to an ongoing court case involving African Stars. Only a point separates league leaders Black Africa and second-placed African Stars, who took the league to court following the team’s refusal to play the remaining eight minutes of an abandoned game on May 17 against Orlando Pirates.

Stars were losing the game 2-0 and with eight minutes to play when the game had to be abandoned after a section of the floodlights at Sam Nujoma Stadium failed.

Since then, league administrators have ordered Stars to play the remaining eight minutes but the team has refused to comply with this directive leading to a delay in declaring a winner.

As things stand, Stars have dragged NPL to court over this directive claiming that they cannot adhere to it since there is no rule which states that they should play the eight minutes.

Rather the team is basing its argument on a FIFA rule, which states that an abandoned match must be replayed unless the competition rules provide otherwise.

Club owner, Sydney Martin, reiterated that his team will not comply with NPL directive ordering his team to play the remaining eight minutes but will only take the field if they are to replay the whole 90 minutes.

“Under FIFA rules, an abandoned match is replayed unless the competition rules provide otherwise but in this case NPL had no rule stating what should be done in such instances, be it because it has never happened before or they just did not see it happening.

“FIFA rules stipulate that a match must last for 90 minutes, so if it is abandoned and so obviously hasn't got to the 90 minutes then the abandoned match is void and must be restaged,” he said.

However lawyers representing the two concerned parties, NPL and Stars last week reached an agreement on an interim order granted by High Court Acting Judge Petrus Unengu, which stipulated that the conclusion of the league championship must be kept on hold.

In terms of the order, the NPL may not declare a winner for its 2013-14 season, make an award to a league winner or issue prize money to a winner until the case that Stars lodged against the NFA, the NPL and other teams in the league was finalised.

Stars refused to be blamed for leading the domestic league into disrepute, as they claim that it was not their intention to have the game abandoned.

“We, as a football club, have it on record that we engaged the NPL with reference to the abandoned match between us and Orlando Pirates Football Club. Furthermore, we would like to highlight the fact that over two months have passed since our initial inquiry,” said Martin.

However, FIFA wrote to NFA advising them to resolve the matter quickly and announce a league winner. The NFA have been instructed by world football's governing body to call African Stars to order or face the consequences.

June 2014
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