AFC disqualifies Nepal, slaps fine

Kathmandu, October 26

The Asian Football Confederation has disqualified the youth team from AFC U-16 Championship for fielding an over-age player in the qualifiers.

Nepal had qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship Finals as one of the best five runners-up in the qualifiers held in Kyrgyzstan from September 16-20. Nepal had defeated Jordan 2-1 before beating hosts Kyrgyzstan 4-2 in the first two matches.


Nepal disqualify for AFC U-16 Championship Finals as skipper found overage

In the last match of the qualifiers, Nepal who needed a draw to qualify as the Group B winners suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of Oman and finished second to earn the Championship berth, which will be held in India next year.

But the AFC, who had conducted random tests of the players of all the participating teams, found an over-age player in Nepal skipper Manish Karki. The AFC Disciplinary Committee awarded Nepal’s opponents Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and Oman with 3-0 victories and slapped a fine of $14,500 on All Nepal Football Association.

“ANFA is fined $4,500 for violating Article 55.1 of the AFC Disciplinary Code in matches against Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and Oman,” the AFC said on its website.

“In accordance with Article 31 and 55.1 of the Code, 3-0 victory shall be awarded to the opponents,” it added. “ANFA is fined $10,400 for violating Article 68 (a) of the Code,” the AFC said.

According to team officials, the ANFA had conducted tests of nine players before leaving for Kyrgyzstan and the reports were normal. “We conducted tests of nine players including skipper Manish Karki before finalising the squad,” said an official. “The AFC had picked skipper Karki, goalkeeper Arpan Karki and forward Prezen Tamang for tests during the tournament,” he added.

Coach Upendra Man Singh said the news was sad for Nepali football. “We had completed all the formalities before going to Kyrgyzstan and all the hard works of the team went in vain,” said Singh. “We had to wait until the last moment to finalise the squad because of MRI reports and we picked up those who were medically cleared,” he added.

“We had given all the medical responsibilities of the players to Dr Raju Dangol and he picked nine players for MRI tests,” said the former national team skipper. “We were happy to have earned a place in finals at a time when the nation was starving for results in football. But this news came as a shock,” Singh added.

Dr Dangol, who also travelled to Kyrgyzstan with the team, was also shocked with the news. “We went through all the procedures in the AFC-approved centre to make sure all the players are within the criteria,” he said. “I think it happened because

of the difference between the technologies. They are advanced while we are way behind,” added Dr Dangol. “Also, the reports are verified by a single specialist in Nepal, while the AFC panel includes multiple experts. And the AFC sends the doubtful reports to neutral experts for verification,” he added.

“The total fine imposed is $14,500 and shall be settled within 30 days from the date that this decision is communicated. ANFA is warned that any future violation of Article 68 (a) of the Code may lead to the deprivation of the right to take part in a future AFC tournament subject to an age limit. ANFA is informed that a repeat violation of these provisions will be met with more severe punishment,” added the AFC release.