Notwane football club’s top brass were left to count their losses last week as the Court of Appeal (CoA) dismissed with costs their application for a High Court ruling made against the team in June last year to be over turned.
Forming an impromptu meeting after the ruling, a handful of supporters together with the club’s hierarchy, who had come to hear the verdict, raised concerns they will have a lot of bills to pay and still face a potential reprimand from the Botswana Football Association (BFA).
Though trying to put up brave faces, there was consensus among those present that their fate now lies ‘solely in the hands’ of the BFA and its Disciplinary Committee. In what was a knockout blow to Notwane in its ongoing court battle with the BFA, the Appeals Court ruled that the High Court had not erred in its dismissal of Notwane’s application. Dismissing their appeal, the CoA said that the purpose of hearing Notwane’s complaint was intended to have the practical effect of determining whether the team would gain points from the defaulting team, which would enable it to avoid relegation. However, with Notwane having played in the playoffs and eventually relegated to a lower division, in which it has already participated, the CoA found that no purpose would be served by hearing a complaint when quite evidently there will be no practical benefit either to Notwane or to the game of football in general.
The court further said since then the game has moved on into a new season which is already past its midway. With that in mind, the court ruled that the only practical result of any outcome favorable to Notwane will create confusion and fertile ground for raising multifarious and costly claims by teams resulting in two league seasons being thrown into chaos.
While the Notwane legal counsel had tried to persuade the court not to concern itself with the consequences of what ruling in their favor will have, the court felt it would not be correct to do as such. The CoA further ruled that Notwane had failed to counter the BFA argument that even if they were awarded soft points as per section 6.2.1 of the BFA Play Rules and Regulations for their complaint, they would still not have avoided playoffs. The BFA had argued that in light of the unavoidable playoff whatever the outcome of the hearing of Notwane’s complaint, a hearing would therefore have been ‘a mere academic exercise without any practical purpose.’