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Fifa bans Anfa boss for 10 yrs

  • Charged over graft, conflict of interest, lack of loyalty
  • Fined 20,000 Swiss Francs
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 17, 2015-

All Nepal Football Association (Anfa) President Ganesh Thapa—the former Nepali national team striker and one of the most influential figures in Asian football—was suspended on Monday for 10 years from all national and international football activities on bribery and corruption charges.

The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee of the world football governing body Fifa on Monday imposed the suspension with immediate effect and a fine of 20,000 Swiss Francs. The action on Thapa, who has been at the Anfa helm since 1995, comes amidst a match-fixing scandal that has rocked Nepali football of late. Thapa is also under investigation by local authorities on embezzling millions of dollars meant for football development in the country.

“Mr Thapa, in the context of the 2009 and 2011 elections for the Fifa Executive Committee at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) congress, committed various acts of misconduct over several years, including the solicitation and acceptance of cash payments from another football official, for both personal and family gain,” the Ethics Committee said in a statement.

The football’s world governing body has found him guilty of infringing article 13 (General rules of conduct), article 15 (Loyalty), article 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting), article 19 (Conflicts of interest), article 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) and article 21 (Bribery and corruption) of the Fifa Code of Ethics.

“Mr Thapa has therefore been banned for 10 years from all football-related activities and fined Swiss Francs 20,000,” the  panel stated.

Thapa reacted that he was disappointed at the verdict. He defended his position that had been complying with the Fifa investigation for the last four years. “I will appeal against the rulings but before that I will go through the copy of the detailed report,” said Thapa, pleading innocence.

If he fails to “get justice” from Fifa, Thapa said he would move the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), an international judicial body established to settle disputes related to sport.

Thapa, who is also a parliamentarian of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal led by his brother Kamal Thapa, faced corruption charges ever since Fifa suspended the then AFC president Mohammed bin Hammam just before the 2011 Fifa Congress that re-elected Sepp Blatter as its president. Blatter himself was suspended for 90 days on October 8.

Blatter resigned as president of Fifa in June this year as a mounting corruption scandal engulfed world football’s governing body. The 79-year-old Swiss official said he would remain in charge until a special congress chooses a new leader in February next year. Thapa, a close ally of Hammam, was elected the AFC vice-president in January, 2011.

In June, Britain’s The Sunday Times first revealed that Thapa had received $200,000 from Hammam in the lead up to the Qatari’s failed Fifa presidential bid. The newspaper a week earlier had reported that the Anfa president received £115,000 from two separate Kemco (Bin Hammam’s private company) accounts in March and August, 2010.

Thapa had acknowledged that Hamman had deposited $100,000 in the personal bank account of his son Gaurav, an employee of the AFC at the time. The Anfa president had claimed that he borrowed the money for personal use.

The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in September last year had directed the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to look into the corruption case against Thapa following a complaint by Anfa Vice-president duo Karma Tshering Sherpa and Bijay Narayan Manandhar accusing him of financial irregularities.

In October last year, Thapa stepped down as the Anfa president, adhering to the PAC directive and paving the way for a probe. He rejoined office after a four-month “voluntary suspension”. But the CIAA in September put Thapa’s case on hold saying that it failed to gather enough evidences against him.

RPP-N to study case before move

KATHMANDU: The Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal has said it will study the Fifa decision before taking any action against its lawmaker Ganesh Thapa. According to RPP-Nepal Chief Whip Dilnath Giri, there had been no discussion on the issue in the party so far. Giri said a meeting of the party’s office bearers and the Parliamentary Party would study the Fifa suspension before taking a decision on the Member of Parliament. The party is unlikely to take stern action against the nominated MP on the ground that the CIAA took no action against him.

Published: 17-11-2015 08:35

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