All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) President Ganesh Thapa on Monday warned government agencies that Nepal may face suspension from international football if the government interferes in ANFA’s activities.
“Article 11 of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) statute and Article 13 of the FIFA statute have clearly stated that third-party interference cannot be accepted in a football association,” Thapa said at a press conference a day after the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) accused him of financial irregularities worth Rs 581.7 million and directed him not to undertake in the capacity of ANFA chief until investigations into the allegations are over.
“It is up to the state to decide whether to take membership from these bodies [AFC and FIFA] or not. I will try to draw the attention of the concerned stakeholders to this matter and request them to rethink their decisions,” said Thapa, who presented himself in soft tone than he usually does.
Charging Thapa with financial irregularities worth Rs 581.7 million on Tuesday, PAC has directed three separate bodies — the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS), the Department of Money Laundering Investigation and the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) — to carry out separate investigations and take necessary action within two months. The parliamentary committee also directed MoYS not to allow Thapa and other ANFA office-bearers allegedly involved in financial irregularities to carry out their works until investigation into the allegations are completed.
Thapa also complained that he was not given chance by PAC to furnish clarification. “I do not want to comment on the decision taken by PAC. However, we were not given chance to furnish clarification. We also could not submit all the necessary documents because CIAA had already opened investigation on ANFA and seized 90 percent of the documents from us,” he said at the press conference, adding, “PAC should have coordinated with CIAA in the course of its investigation.”
Presenting his defense one by one on the charges made by PAC against him, Thapa refuted any wrongdoings at ANFA and also assured full cooperation to all three bodies in the course of their investigation. “We shall cooperate with all the bodies in the course of their investigation as per the directive of PAC,” said the ANFA chief.
He also said that the ongoing investigation was not against any person but against ANFA. “The investigation is being carried out on an organization, not an individual. Every member of ANFA who has signed the minute of ANFA is equally responsible. But I am sure there are no wrongdoings at ANFA,” said Thapa. “No one is above the law and I am ready to face punishment if I am proven guilty.”