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BFA suspends Notwane FC

A sense of loss and dejection is pervading thorough Notwane Football Club’s boardroom following a decision by the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to suspend them from football activities for taking soccer matters to a court.

The decision was taken on Wednesday this week, following a long National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting and Toronto as they have grown to be called and the verdict was that, the team will not play official games for the next two seasons. However, one season is wholly suspended provided the club does not commit a similar offence.  

The team cried foul last season that its mother body, BFA and its sub-structures refused to accept their plea that Maun based outfit, Sankoyo Bush Bucks had fielded a defaulter against them. The Association concluded that the wording of Notwane‘s letter did not amount to an appeal but rather a complaint. However, a struggling team from Selibe Phikwe, FC Satmos, later won their case after accusing Sankoyo Bush Bucks of the same. Notwane felt aggrieved and rushed to a court of law for remedy.

Notwane perceived the Association and its relevant structures as not fit to deliberate on the dispute that drastically led them to their first ever relegation. The team had played a crucial tie with FC Satmos and the former was listened to when they registered an appeal. Notwane and FC Satmos would later play each other as the Selibe Phikwe side had profited three soft points from Sankoyo while Notwane was unsuccessful. The game was to decide on who should remain in the elite league and who should relegate.

BFA’s decision was expected because FIFA, which oversees the local mother body, does not condone football matters to be taken to courts.  It is a bitter pill to swallow for Toronto because their move to high court did not even bear fruit. The High Court dismissed their attempt to stop their game against FC Satmos citing that their application failed to satisfy legal requirements. They took another step further to the Court of Appeal, and still they were unsuccessful.

Notwane’s legal counsel had argued at length that the court should not concern itself with consequences of any order but rather focus on circumstances that forced them to seek legal redress. It was within Notwane’s hopes that appealing their case may clear up the parties’ rights in respect of their entitlement to soft points from Sankoyo Bush Bucks.

However, the CoA rubber stamped what the High Court had declared, that, “as a general rule, courts exist for the settlement of controversies and actual infringement of rights, not to pronounce upon abstract questions or to advise upon differing contentions, however important.”

Notably, the Court of Appeal pointed out that the club was destined for failure the moment they stepped into the High Court.  The appeal panel observed that the Association had already dealt with Notwane’s complaint and showed reasons as to why it was not important for them to benefit from Sankoyo’s soft points. BFA had pointed out that Notwane was not entitled to have its matter heard and that the only remedy available would have been a fine and not points. The BFA disputes committees also declared that even if Notwane was to gain the three ‘freebie points’, the team’s position was not changed and the playoff would still have involved them and FC Satmos.

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