Matlama challenges LeFA decision to end league

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Moorosi Tsiane

FORMER Econet Premier League champions, Matlama have challenged the Lesotho Football Association’s (LeFA) decision to end the 2019/20 football season in its current state and declare Bantu the Econet Premier League champions.

Following a series of meetings between the LeFA national executive committee (NEC) and the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) regarding the 2019/2020 season, it was resolved that the season be ended on 31 July 2020. The log leaders in the respective leagues will be crowned champions.

LeFA suspended all soccer activities in mid-March this year on the back of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

When the leagues were suspended, Bantu were leading Econet Premier League with 50 points. Manonyane and CCX were leading the south and the north streams of the A Division respectively. LDF Ladies were leading the Women Super League with 36 points.

Bantu will be crowned the elite league champions for the fourth time while LDF Ladies will be crowned Women Super League champions for the third consecutive season.

In the letter seen by the Lesotho Times addressed to LeFA secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi, Matlama said the resolutions to declare Bantu the winners undermined the spirit of fairness in football.

“As Matlama Football Club, we have learned of the resolution by the LeFA NEC which states, among others that: The 2019/20 season ends henceforth, the log standings are as the date of the suspension of the leagues by LeFA, that Bantu are declared the champions of the 2019/20 Econet Premier League and shall represent Lesotho at the CAF champions…,” part of the letter reads.

“Kindly note that Matlama does not accept the aforesaid resolution and finds the same to be arbitrary, irrational, fails to ensure football fairness and merit, and is in complete violation of the Lesotho Premier League and A Division Rules and regulations 2019 (as amended).”

Matlama are challenging the resolutions on the grounds that “the decision to end the 2019/20 premier League season henceforth and declare Bantu Football Club champions is contrary to article 3.1 read with articles 22.1 to 22.3 inclusive of the Lesotho premier league and A Division rules and regulations (as amended)”.

“The decision to the effect that there will not be any relegations for the current season is contrary to article 2.1.3 of the Lesotho Premier League and A Division rules and regulations 2019 (as amended).

“The resolution in its entirety undermines the spirit of football fairness and merit… The resolution in its entirety was made arbitrarily and irrationally without the consideration of other reasonable alternatives…” reads the letter.

The Sea-Point outfit won the league title last season and now wants the matter to be heard by the Disciplinary and Protests Committee (DISPROCO).

Tse Putsoa has further requested that both LeFA and the PLMC suspend the implementation of the resolution pending the final determination of the matter by DISPROCO.

“In order not to undermine the dispute resolution process, we request both the Lesotho Football Association and the PLMC to put the implementation of the resolution in abeyance pending the final determination of the matter.”

Mohapi confirmed receiving Matlama’s letter.

“Kindly be informed that today, Tuesday 21 July 2020, LeFA received a protest from Matlama Football Club challenging the decisions of the NEC which were taken in consultation with the PLMC regarding the ending of the 2019/2020 football season,” Mohapi said.

Mohapi said Matlama were exercising their right by lodging a protest but could not comment further.

“They are exercising their right to lodge a complaint and what I can only say is that we will meet them before the DISPROCO,” Mohapi said.

A statement from LeFA last night said the DISPROCO would hear the matter tomorrow.

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