FIFA rejects Rollers plea
The world football governing body FIFA, through its sub structure-the court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), has rejected Township Rollers’ request to stop all league proceedings in a case where the registration authenticity of Ofentse Nato is still under scrutiny.
In a letter copied to Township Rollers lawyer, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae, Gilport Lions Football Club and Botswana Football Association Chief Executive Officer, Kitso Kemoeng, the court of Arbitration for Sport said that the application for stay will not be granted because the league has already reached its summit.
On the 3rd of May 2016, Rollers filed a statement of appeal with FIFA against Gilport Lions where the latter benefited three soft points after winning a case against the same Ofentse Nato. Rollers indicated that ‘‘the enforcement of the decision would lead to them losing points for the four games in which the player had been fielded”.
As an attempt of demonstrating fairness, CAS asked Gilport Lions to file its answers and views regarding Rollers’ plea. Lions were given a deadline of three days to submit their answers. On the other hand Rollers requested that both BFA and BPL be joined as respondents. The two bodies were also given a deadline of three days to file their answers for fair deliberation.
Gilport Lions on the 20th of May filed that Rollers application be rejected because a decision had already been taken by local structures that Nato is a defaulter hence forth implemented. Gilport Lions also argued that the same Township Rollers had appealed the decision within BFA structures and therefore all internal legal remedies had not been exhausted yet.
However, the Association and Premier League did not file their answers within the prescribed deadline.
According to the letter, the President of the CAS appeals arbitration division said its decision was fed by three important points as stipulated in article R37 of the code. The world governing body first had to determine whether Rollers would suffer irreparable harm if the relief sought was not granted. Further, the likelihood of Rollers’ success and lastly assessed whether Rollers interests outweigh those of other parties involved.
After thoroughly dealing with the above mentioned points, the panel dismissed Rollers’ request saying that ‘‘the appellant has failed to address the criteria of the balance of interests.’’
However, the decision has not dampened Rollers spirits as they are adamant that the final verdict from CAS will swing in their favour. The club secretary general Khumo Masonya said it should not be seen that they have lost the Nato battle, “but there should be patience because a final outcome is still been discussed”.
Ofentse Nato first became the subject of discussion after Township Rollers dumped arch rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs out of the top 8 tournament at Francistown sports complex. The said player played part on the match, prompting Chiefs to file a protest. However, Magosi were left counting their failures after it was found out that they had failed to follow procedure in lodging a protest. The same player was part of their game against Gilport Lions who too have complained legally regarding the status of the player endearing himself to Popa faithfuls.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”