Reinstate suspended officials, elect new prez: FIFA to ANFA

KATHMANDU: The global football governing body FIFA has directed All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) to reinstate its suspended officials and hold elections to choose its new president.

After FIFA's ethics committee imposed a 10-year ban on ANFA President Ganesh Thapa on corruption charges, Narendra Shrestha is leading the Nepali football body as its acting president. The ban was effective from April 16 last  year.

ANFA received FIFA's written directive today.

"We note with concern that ANFA has failed to hold congress for two and half years. This is in the contradiction of ANFA statute that stipulated that an ordinary congress shall be held every year, FIFA's Acting General Secretary Markus Kattner wrote to ANFA General Secretary Dhirendra Pradhan.

Regarding four ANFA officials, including three vice presidents and an executive committee member, FIFA said their dismissal was not done properly, given that some of the executive committee meetings that they allegedly missed were formally convened.

Then ANFA President Ganesh Thapa had suspended vice president trio Karma Chhiring Sherpa, Bijaya Narayan Manandhar and Kishor Rai, and executive Pankaj Nembang from ANFA last year for challenging his leadership.

FIFA further told ANFA to reinstate them by May 23, and convene an ordinary congress as soon as possible thereafter to choose new president.

"Finally, we would like to underline that at the ordinary congress all members of ANFA must be allowed to raise any issue. If these steps are not followed, FIFA and AFC have no choice to submit the issue to the appropriate FIFA bodies for further consideration which would possibly include the establishment of the normalisation committee," the directive reads.

After receiving the directive, ANFA CEO Indra Man Tuladhar said Acting President Shrestha, who is currently in Mexico, would discuss the matter with FIFA officials on the sidelines of the FIFA Congress there to find out the best possible solution.

After Shrestha returns home from Mexico, ANFA would find a solution to the matter in a legal way,  Tuladhar said in a statement.

FIFA said it was thoroughly briefed by the Asian Federation Confederation (AFC) on the findings of the two missions to Nepal that took place in November last year and March 2016 before writing to ANFA.