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VANUATU – EXTRA-ORDINARY CONGRESS ON THE CARDS

VFF to call extra-ordinary congress to review Article 20 of constitution

The Vanuatu Football Federation has announced it will be calling an extra-ordinary congress to consider a proposal to ammend article 20 of its five month old constitution.

The announcement was made by VFF Acting Secretary General Jimmy Nipo at a media conference held at the VFF Haus today.

The VFF decision came following continued pressure from the Port Vila Football League and Luganville Football Association argueing that they wanted to maintain their direct membership status with VFF. Under Article 20 of the VFF constitution, only six provincial associations are mentioned as member associations of VFF. The associations are Tafea FA, Shefa FA, Malampa FA, Penama FA, Sanma FA and Torba FA.

The constitution was passed at the 2005 VFF congress and had became effective as of 1 October 2005. In effect PVFL and LFA lost their direct membership with VFF. PVFL and LFA were advised that they were to affiliate with Shefa FA and Sanma FA respectively as sub-leagues. Only associations can be members of VFF and not leagues.

The two urban leagues have argued their case that being the two major leagues in the country, they should maintain their direct membership status with VFF. However VFF said in order for them to have direct membership status, they must upgrade their structure to becoming an association with their own leagues (minimum of four).

VFF SG Mr. Nipo declared at the media conference that after consultations with the named leagues and associations, VFF has come to see that it was necessary to call an extra-ordinary congress to discus the proposed ammendment to Article 20.

“In the meantime, we will play football. Port Vila Football League and Luganville Football Association can continue with their programs. South Efate League can go ahead with its program. And VFF will call an extra-ordinary congress in the next few days to consider the matter at hand”, Mr. Nipo declared.

Mr. Nipo also announced that following the current situation VFF has decided to exempt all its member associations from this year’s affiliation fees.

“Those associations that have paid will be reimbursed”, Nipo said.

Shefa Fa and Tafea FA were the first to pay their affiliations with VFF this year.

Nipo explained that according to Article 57(3) of the VFF constitution, the executive can exempt members or applicants from paying their membership fee. The said article reads:-

“…the Executive Committee for good cause shown may exempt an applicant or membership or a member from payment of all or part of”.. the membership fees.

Mr. Nipo said the date and venue of the extra-ordinary congress will be announced in the “next few days”, though he did not give a clear hint on how long that would be. But Article 22(3) says “The Executive Committee may convene an Extraordinary Congress at any time”.

Article 22(5) says; “The Members shall be notified of the place, date and agenda at least two months before the date of an extraordinary congress..”

Meanwhile PVFL has welcomed the decision by VFF. PVFL President who is also a member of VFF executive George Iapson went on further to call on VFF to ask members of the football family to refrain from making public statements with negative implications, or with the motive to cause public disorder and disunity among members.

PVFL has already kicked off a tames preparations tournament in the capital on Thursday 16 February.

The South Efate Football League will be holding its first general meeting with its affiliate clubs, coaches and referees on Monday 20 February. A number of football clubs have left PVFL and have registered with the SEFL which was re-actuvated by Shefa FA following a restructuring of the association in December.

VFF SG Mr. Nipo has called on everyone on put the past issues out of the way, and let the games begin. And he called on leaders of the leagues and associations to go to his office should they have any questions and to avoid going to the media.

Nipo also expressed disappointment at the amount of “irresponsible reporting” by one particular newspaper. He called on the reporters to carry out their duties professionally and responsibly.

Those media outlets present were The Vanutu Daily Post, The Indepndent and The ni-Vanuatu. VBTC did not show up. Also present were officials of Shefa FA, PVFL and SEFL.

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