The Office of the Labour Commissioner on Friday dismissed the case of the Namibia Football Players Union (NAFPU) against the Namibia Football Association (NFA) with regard players’ outstanding salaries and the jurisdiction of the Labour Commissioner in the matter.
Commissioner Nicolas Mouers, who presided over the arbitration case, on Friday ruled that the union’s request to engage the NFA in relation to players’ outstanding payments by their clubs was irregular and unprocedural.
Handing down the ruling, Commissioner Mouers said: “I’m not satisfied that the mere affirmation of recognition of the applicant (NAFPU) by the respondent (NFA) as the only bargaining agent in football under the respondent’s jurisdiction warrants the existence of an employer-employee relationship between the applicant and the respondent.”
He added that employee-employer relations exist only between NAFPU and the respective Namibia Premier League clubs, who the players ply their trade for.
“Based on the findings on the first preliminary issue, I thus find it irregular and unprocedural to rule a finding on the remaining two issues, namely the position of NAFPU in Namibian football and the legal standing of the national executive committee of NAFPU, as this would result in bestowing upon myself jurisdictional authority, which I do not possess. Thus the matter is accordingly dismissed.”
NFA president Frans Mbidi said that he hopes NAFPU will take heed and truly represent their members’ interest in accordance with the procedures.
“It’s unfortunate that we had to go this route with them, but today the legitimacy of their case is dismissed and we urge them to now consider the right platforms for the benefit of the players.”
NFA secretary general Barry Rukoro adds that “the matter has served as a learning curve for all of us and we hope the game will emerge stronger and united from this debacle”.
Speaking at a media briefing on Saturday, NAFPU secretary general Olsen Kahiriri said he was disappointed in the outcome of the case and despite the ruling the union would pursue other avenues to obtain relief and justice for the players.
“We feel the arbitrator did not apply his mind correctly in this case. Our case was not heard because the NFA shifted the [main issue of] case, saying they are not an employer. But we feel we have the right to take NFA to court as an exclusive bargaining agent,” he maintained.
He further revealed that the union leadership would meet in the course of the week to work out a way forward and suggested they are likely to take the case to the High Court.
NAFPU took the NFA to the Labour Court in October on various charges, including alleged ill-treatment of NAFPU by the football mother body; failure by the NFA to establish a players’ status committee, as per the international football body’s regulations on status and transfer of players and dispute resolution; as well as the apparent failure by the NFA to establish regulations that ensure contractual stability and pay, as well as due respect to mandatory national laws enshrined in FIFA regulations. – Additional info: NFA/Nampa