Appeal Board throws out Matlama plea

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Moorosi Tsiane

MATLAMA’S appeal against the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA)’s decision to end the season and crown Bantu the 2019/20 Econet Premier League champions was on Monday dismissed by the Appeal Board.

The club had petitioned the Disputes and Protests Committee’s (DISPROCO) last month to contest LeFA’s decision to end the league in its current state and declare Bantu the 2019/20 season champions. DISPROCO dismissed the case saying LeFA had acted within the confines of the law.

Matlama accused LeFA of undermining the spirit of fairness by declaring Bantu champions and also failing to relegate the two bottom-placed teams as per the premier league and A Division rules and regulations.

Last month, DISPROCO dismissed the matter but Matlama approached the Appeal Board. The matter was heard last week but judgement was reserved until Monday.

Matlama were represented by Tumisang Mosotho while LeFA was represented by Qhalehang Letsika and Bantu was represented by Tefo Rabolinyane.

The appeal panel was made up of Thato Molapo, Moshoeshoe Letsie and Kaizer Selimo.

In passing judgement, Selimo LeFA acted consistently with its statutes.

“The crux of Matlama FC’s appeal is that the DISPROCO erred when it ruled against Matlama where Matlama had submitted that LeFA had acted against its legal instruments when it ended the season and declared Bantu as the Econet Premier League champions and that LeFA acted arbitrarily (without consultation) to end the 2019-2020 season,” Selimo said.

“Initially the appeal also included the submission that the LeFA NEC did not have a quorum when it resolved to end the league. This was however, withdrawn.

“Regarding the submission that LeFA acted inconsistently with its statutes, the Appeal Board is not convinced that LeFA acted inconsistently with its statutes and regulations. The Appeal Board is convinced that LeFA acted appropriately on the basis of Article 50 of the LeFA statutes.

“The court rules that specific provisions of the statutes override some regulations as if the situation under the Covid-19 pandemic should be considered as normal… the Appeal Board rules that Matlama failed to illustrate that they suffered any prejudice by the resolution of the NEC given that enough consultations were undertaken by the NEC even when it was not binding. Matlama were part of the consultations from the start.

“The panel reiterates that the NEC resolved accordingly and had indeed exercised adequate consultation with among others Matlama FC as well as other stakeholders. The Appeal Board upholds the DISPROCO judgement and the matter is dismissed therefore,” Selimo said.

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