Exclusive: FIFA warns Nepal FA to get house in order or will step in

Reuters News
Posted: May 11, 2016 4:18 AM

By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - FIFA has warned troubled Nepal football association (ANFA) to reinstate suspended executive committee members and immediately call a congress or risk intervention of the world soccer's governing body.

In a letter sent to ANFA General Secretary Dhirendra Pradhan dated May 9 and seen by Reuters, FIFA's acting Secretary General Markus Kattner said ANFA had failed to act according to its own statutes and should this issue persist it could establish a FIFA "normalization committee."

Ganesh Thapa, former president of ANFA, was banned in November 2015 for 10 years and fined 20,000 Swiss francs for a series of acts of misconduct.

Former player Thapa, a member of Parliament, had acknowledged receiving money from former Asian Football Confederation President Mohammad bin Hammam, who has been banned from soccer for life after allegations he paid bribes.

He said the money was lent by bin Hammam for business purposes.

As well as two decades leading Nepal's soccer association, Thapa had also served as a vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation, the continent's 47-nation soccer bloc.

Since his departure, however, critics have claimed little has changed with officials, including acting president Narendra Shrestha, seen as close to Thapa.

Members of ANFA's executive committee, including two former vice presidents, who were critical of Thapa and had taken the issue to FIFA last year, have been dismissed for allegedly missing meetings.

"FIFA and AFC would kindly ask you to abide by the following: first to reinstate the four dismissed ANFA members by May 23, 2016 the latest, and second, to convene an ordinary congress of ANFA as soon as possible thereafter," Kattner said in the letter.

FIFA said the members' dismissal was undermining the proper functioning of the association and questioned whether the meetings they had allegedly missed had been properly convened.

"Should these steps not be followed FIFA and AFC would have no choice but to submit the issue to the appropriate FIFA bodies, which would possibly include the establishment of a normalization committee."

Such a committee would be created in order to get ANFA back in line with its own and FIFA statutes.

Nepal, under Thapa, was long part of an Asia-wide bedrock of support for disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has since been banned from soccer.

In a brief statement, ANFA CEO Indra Man Tuladhar said Shrestha, currently in Mexico for a FIFA Congress, would discuss the matter with the FIFA officials on the sidelines of the congress to find the best possible solution.

He said after Shrestha's arrival from Mexico, "the ANFA would find a solution to the matter in a legal way."

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)