By Basil K Mbuye
The imbroglio between the Cameroon Football Federation, FECAFOOT, and the Professional Football League of Cameroon, LFPC has taken a new twist.
Things are getting more complicated after the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Prof. Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, set up a Ministerial Committee contrary to FIFA rules.
The Minister’s move has triggered a reaction from a FIFA member of the International Federation of Association Football, who has warned that Cameroon could be suspended for not respecting rules.
On October 8, FIFA Chief Member Associations Officer, Véron Mosengo-Omba, wrote a letter to the FECAFOOT, informing the association members of an impending suspension after Minister Mouelle Kombi intervene in football matter.
The Minister set up a working group to ensure that the decision taken by the Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS, in a dispute between FECAFOOT and the LFPC is implemented.
In his letter, Mosengo-Omba warned that the Minister’s decision exposes Cameroon to suspension.
“I have learned from various sources that the Minister of Sports of the Republic of Cameroon have formed a Committee that would apparently be responsible for monitoring the diligent execution of the decision, rendered by the CAS on September 14. ”
Mosengo-Omba reminded FECAFOOT of FIFA rules quoting article 14 section 1 of (i) 3 and 19 of FIFA Statutes that states that “FIFA member associations are statutorily bound to manage their affairs independently and without the influence of third parties. Any breach of its obligations may result in sanctions, which may go as far as the outright suspension of the member association concerned, even if the influence of the third party is not attributable to the member association”.
He further stated that if the Minister’s Committee influences the decision taken by FECAFOOT in its General Assembly of September 25 he will be obliged to report Cameroon to FIFA.
Should this happen, Cameroon could be suspended by the World Football Governing Body.
FECAFOOT Boycotts Sports Minister’s Invitation
The President of FECAFOOT, Seidou Mbombo Njoya was conspicuously absent during the installation ceremony of the Committee members set up by Sports Minister.
The event took place, October 2, in the Sports Ministry.
On October 1, FECAFOOT President Seidou Mbombo Njoya in an epistle to the Minister said the body he heads does not approve Government’s mediation in the crisis between FECAFOOT and LFPC.
“We are pleased to point out that following the meeting that you were kind enough to chair on September 17, 2020, the General Assembly of FECAFOOT took note of the sentence of the CAS and decided to implement it according to modalities which were defined with the President of the LFPC. The higher bodies of FECAFOOT having pronounced on the question, it does not seem appropriate for us to take part in the meetings of the committee which was set up without consultation with FECAFOOT,” Mbombo Njoya explained.
This was not taken lightly by the Minister who in his opening speech on October 2 said “Sports associations or federations do not constitute a state within a state”.
He continued: “The coordination of physical and sports activities is the responsibility of the Ministry in charge of Sports and as such, it may, in the event of serious misconduct involving the liability of a sports association, suspend its activities or withdraw its approval under the conditions and terms and conditions set by regulation. Sports associations or federations do not constitute a state within a state…
Also, I would like to remind forcefully, for the attention of the opposing parties and the public opinion, that Cameroon is and remains law abiding.
“The Government of the Republic, consistent in its logic of avoiding any interference, one of the parties to the conflict (FECAFOOT) not having accepted its mediation, insisted that only the law prevails. The law has been stated with objectivity and impartiality by the most competent universal body in the matter. It is now a question of applying it without delay or excessive and counterproductive legalism. The State, guarantor of the superior interest of the nation, cannot remain a spectator of sensitive questions which affect this interest.”
Resignation Wave Hits LFPC
In just a month, the Cameroon Professional Football League, LFPC, has witnessed a series of resignations.
Members of the League’s Board and club owners have resigned. These are members like Max Kome (Dragon FC de Yaoundé), Gaspard Owona (Renaissance FC de Ngoumou), Joseph Feutcheu (Djiko FC), Yong Jacques (YOSA).
These members have resigned from the LFPC citing a number of reasons. These reasons range from exploitation, mismanagement, failure to live up to expectation amongst others.