CIFA argues court’s jurisdiction

Tuesday May 21, 2019 Written by Published in Crime

Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) is arguing that the High Court does not have the jurisdiction to deal with a claim filed against them.

 

This was stated in a memorandum filed by CIFA’s legal representative Tai Nicholas. The matter was brought before Judge Judith Potter yesterday.

Nicholas was responding to an application of claim filed by former footballer Bruce Akamoeau Bien on May 7.

The memorandum filed yesterday showed that the footballer was a registered player with the Matavera Football Club, a member association of CIFA.

The memorandum further showed that Article 57 (a) of the 2013 CIFA Statutes states that players may not take disputes to ordinary courts of law. Any disagreements are to be submitted to the jurisdiction of FIFA, Oceania Football Confederation Inc or CIFA, it further states.

The memorandum claimed that the plaintiff is prohibited from referring his dispute to the High Court and is instead required to refer his dispute to the Arbitration Tribunal of CIFA.

Therefore it stated that the proceedings of the whole matter could be struck out.

Bien is represented by lawyer Wilkie Rasmussen. He is suing CIFA for $1 million, claiming he was unfairly sacked from the national team for going out to dinner with his family, when he was part of the national under-20 team that played in a tournament in Tonga in 2016.

Rasmussen said his client is open to discussions with the respondent and preferred that they proceed with the matter in the next few months.

Judge Potter said the plaintiff claimed substantial damages essentially for the breach of his playing contract with CIFA.

“A lengthy memorandum was filed by the respondent, which says the court does not have jurisdiction in this dispute and the plaintiff must refer his dispute to the arbitration tribunal of CIFA in accordance with Article 57 and 56 of the CIFA statutes,” Judge Potter said.

“The memorandum seeks that these proceedings be stuck out.”

She said Rasmussen would need time to consider the memorandum.

Judge Potter said it was necessary to determine which forum the dispute needed to be heard and decided.

She said the response to the memorandum must be filed by June 30 and the matter was adjourned to the September judge session for mention.

“However, I anticipate that well in advance of September, we may be able to reach an agreement on the appropriate process to advance the plaintiff’s dispute with CIFA and to keep this court fully informed on the proposed proceeding steps,” Judge Potter added.

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