JAMES M DORSEY: The focus of attention on Nepal concerns the tragic consequences of the earthquake which has caused more than 6,000 deaths and uncounted injuries. As the Himalayan state rebuilds it will need to rebuild its football authority as well.
One of the many unanswered questions concerning the Asian Football Confederation centres on Gaurav Thapa, the son of Nepal federation president Ganesh Thapa who has been suspended by FIFA pending an investigation into corruption charges.
Gaurav has been appointed as an AFC match commissioner despite having been named in the PwC audit (see above: http://tinyurl.com/l5yrjs9) as one of numerous recipients of questionable payments by ex-AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam.
in a telephone interview Karma Tsering Sherpa, vice-president and an executive committee member of the All Nepal Football Association, said:
“All of the Nepalese associations’ affairs are run by Thapa. Everything is handled by his son. We don’t know anything. We just know that he is match commissioner. The Nepalese federation did not nominate him.”
Sherpa, together with ANFA vice-president Bijay Narayan Manandhar, said in a February 15 letter to Robert J. Torres, a member of the ethics committee of FIFA’s investigatory chamber, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke and Soosay that Ganesh Thapa – in violation of ANFA’s statutes and despite his suspension – was keeping ANFA executives “in the dark” about the body’s affairs, including audits of “unappropriated cash movements” and an ethics committee investigation.
Members of the ANFA board charged this week that Thapa, despite his suspension had barred the association’s acting president, Lalit Krishna Shrestha, and general secretary Dhirendra Pradhan from attending the Bahrain congress.
Instead the association sent Thapa’s brother in law, Mani Kunwar, who is also a member of the board.
Asked whether the fact that he was the only head of an Asian soccer association not to have been nominated for the AFC Congress, Shrestha said in a telephone interview: “I agree with your logic. We have to compromise. That’s why we sent my friends.”
Sherpa said Kunwar had been sent to Bahrain despite the fact that four members of the Nepalese association, including Sherpa and two other vice presidents, had filed a separate complaint to Torres, Valcke and Soosay against Kunwar.
In the complaint they accused Kunwar of behaviour unbecoming of a national or regional soccer official.
The complaint was based on allegation by Kunwar’s wife in the Nepalese media and a Nepalese court of having been robbed of her belongings by her husband and having been beaten by both Kunwar and Thapa’s wife.
FIFA and Soosay have yet to respond to the complaint.
Ironically, the AFC funds Nepalese anti-gender violence NGO Saathi. The NGO has yet to publicly comment on the allegations against Kunwar and other members of Thapa’s family.
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James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, and a forthcoming book with the same title.
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