MASERU — League champions Lioli have been thrown into disarray after the club’s entire executive committee was on Thursday banned by the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) until December 31 2014.
The Lioli board of president Lebohang Thotanyana, secretary Chaka Chaka and treasurer Likotsi Likotsi are joined by the club’s communications and marketing manager Moeketsi Pitso and administration manager Nthako Majoro in the ban.
All will be barred from any football-related activities for the next four years, a move which in simple terms means Lioli have to elect a new committee to run the club in the meantime. However, as well as expressing shock, Thotanyana was defiant when quizzed on Friday.
“If we have to go to court, then we will. On Sunday, we are having a meeting with our legal advisers,” Thotanyana told the Sunday Express.
Lioli were found guilty on two counts of misconduct, which Lefa deemed especially grave. Lefa vice-president and Premier League chairman Tlholo Letete said: “The punishment is not harsh, in fact we have been very lenient. Lioli’s offence itself put the whole of Lesotho football in serious danger.”
Lioli’s offences are a result of their complaint to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) on October 8, 2008 after being denied a Champions League spot by Lefa, and subsequently taking the matter to the High Court the following month.
“The position is Lioli neither sought Lefa’s approval before writing the letter as clubs are prohibited from communicating directly with both Caf and Fifa,” Lefa’s ruling said.
On taking football matters to court, Lefa said: “This offence categorically falls among offences such as government interference in football matters. These are the gravest irregularities a national body can ever carry out.”
On Wednesday the Premier League had resolved to suspend all of Lioli’s home matches until further notice, throwing the champions’ title-defence into turmoil. This decision means Lioli’s home match with Bantu this afternoon will not be played.
“This is in light of the security threats posed by matches involving the aforesaid teams (Lioli, Matlama and Bantu) and also taking into consideration the incidents that occurred during or after the Lioli-versus-LMPS match that was played on March 14, 2010, as well as the fact that the PLMC has not concluded the post-match administrative process regarding the Lioli FC vs LMPS FC fixture,” read a Premier League statement released on Thursday.
Apart from the executive ban, the club has been fined M10 000 payable by April 22 and slapped with a 15-point deduction suspended until December 31, 2012.