Sport: PNG govt calls on football assn to lift suspensions

2:31 pm on 10 October 2017

The Papua New Guinea government has called on the PNG Football Association to lift the suspension of some local associations, in an effort to bring the country's rival football factions back together.

David Chung was re-elected to the role of PNGFA President at December's Elective Congress in Kimbe but one of his opponents, John Kapi Natto, argued the results were an "injustice", following the suspension of the seven member associations.

OFC President David Chung (L).

OFC President David Chung (L). Photo: OFC via Phototek

In May, the PNGFA and its Electoral Committee said the members had been unable to provide evidence their clubs has paid annual subscription fees and/or club competition entry fees and they believe that the Congress and the subsequent election was held in accordance with PNGFA Statutes.

"This was endorsed by FIFA and the High Court in Port Moresby following an application for an injunction by one of the suspended members where the High Court found they have no legal standing."

Mr Kapi Natto subsequently launched a rival organisation, Football Federation PNG, which is not recognised by FIFA, after he was suspended from the PNGFA and his club disqualified from the OFC Champions League, for making derogatory public statements about the association.

Hekari United celebrate winning the 2010 Oceania Champions League.

Hekari United celebrate winning the 2010 Oceania Champions League. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

FFPNG's inaugural National Premier League featured 12 teams with Hekari United beating FC Papaka 4-1 in the maiden grand final, and has vowed to expand into the Highlands and New Guinea Islands in 2018.

The Papua New Guinea Vice Minister for Sport, Wesley Raminai, said the dispute arising from the December Congress has split the country's football community in two and needs to be resolved.

"Us as a government we want to make sure that football moves forward and the best way is for all parties to come to the table and talk but really David Chung is the guy I think should really come and talk and move this thing forward but what I see is we should look at why Football Federation PNG was formed," he said.

"The main reason was the other football association in the country was suspended - that's the reason why those who were suspended got up and formed FFPNG.

"The solution is I would say that David Chung should really uplift the suspension, that's what he should do.

"If he should uplift the suspension that's it. If he has the numbers ok he should let all the guys vote for him (In PNGFA elections) or maybe John (Kapi Natto) or whoever will get it. The suspension should be lifted".

The PNG Football Association's National Soccer League started the season with seven teams, after a number of defections to the rebel league.

Six teams completed the regular season but the playoffs were cancelled in August after PS United pulled out of the semi final against Madang.

Lae City Dwellers have been declared 2017 National Soccer League champions.

Lae City Dwellers have been declared 2017 National Soccer League champions. Photo: PNGFA Media

Wesley Raminai, said it was not sustainable to have two national competitions.

"I think the most important thing is the President of PNG Football Association (David Chung) should really look for ways to move forward in the best interests of the country, that's what he should look at," he said.

"And with the (Football Federation PNG), what I can see and from what I can read I can see they've been concentrating a lot in more rural areas, looking more at the grassroots. That's the way they're promoting the game as well.

"It's better for both parties to come to the round table to have a discussion, that's the way forward for us".