Matlama challenges decision

Matlama challenges decision

MASERU-Econet Premier League giants Matlama have formally written a letter to the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) challenging its decision to end the 2019/20 season and award the league title to Bantu.
The Econet Premiership campaign was suspended in March because of Covid-19 and, at the time, Matlama were in second place, 16 points behind Bantu with only six games to play.

Last week, LEFA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) met and finally resolved to end the league season with the current league standings serving as the final log for the 2019/20 championship.

LEFA’s decision means the Econet Premier League season is considered to have been played to a finish and, as a result, clubs will receive prize money from sponsors Econet according to their league finishes and COVID-19 relief funding.

Matlama, however, are furious at the decision and have demanded LEFA take their dispute to LEFA’s Disciplinary and Protest Committee for a resolution. The hearing will take place tomorrow.

Matlama insist LEFA did not follow “laws that govern the game” when they awarded Bantu the league title and they want the association to clarify their reasons for handing the championship to Bantu.

Matlama president Paballo Makakole would not say in detail what the club wants to happen because ‘Tse Putsoa’ have already filed their case and it is being handled by their lawyers.

However, he accused LEFA of not following protocol in handing rivals Bantu the league title. He slammed the association for a lack of leadership.
“There is already a case, the lawyers are dealing with it, what we want is the procedure to be followed,” Makakole told thepost.

“We had a pandemic and LEFA had to make a decision (with regards to ending the league) and we understand that, we are not challenging that,” he added.

“But there are rules when it comes to awarding the championship and they should be followed. Were they followed? That’s what we want to know, if (LEFA) are covered on that front, of which I believe they are not, then they will tell us. Are the rules being followed? If not, what kind of people do we have leading us?”

After Bantu were declared champions, Matlama congratulated the Mafeteng club for winning the league on their social media pages.
However, their tune has changed.

Matlama assert no team should be awarded the championship but they do agree that all the clubs should receive their season prize monies.
For their part, LEFA insist that handing prize monies is dependent on whether the season is annulled or ended.

Ending the season, as LEFA has done, will mean clubs can receive prize money for their season’s efforts as well as some subsidy from LEFA’s COVID-19 relief fund.

LEFA say that annulling the season, as Matlama are demanding, would mean no prize monies are given to clubs, no relief funding is allocated and prizes and trophies earned during the season have to be returned.
LEFA’s NEC made the decision to end the league season with a recommendation from the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) but LEFA’s secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi pointed out that LEFA is an autonomous body.

He said LEFA aligns itself with practices and directives from COSAFA, CAF and football’s world governing body, FIFA.
Locally, LEFA is a member of the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) and Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC).

Mohapi said that while LEFA abides with directive from the two bodies, the association is fully independent when it comes to how it conducts its football business. Mohapi said no one can dictate what LEFA should do.

“If a sister association resolves to do whatever they have resolved, that does not compel LEFA to do the same,” Mohapi said.

“We have a competent leadership that has the same, if not better, wisdom to act without being influenced on what course of action to follow and implement given the nature of challenges and tasks facing the LEFA leadership.”

Tlalane Phahla

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