NOC bank account frozen

Kathmandu, July 13:

With less than a month left for the Beijing Olympics, Nepal government has freezed the bank accounts of Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC).

Speaking at an interaction programme, NOC president Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan accepted the government’s move. “We had signed a cheque to Nepal boxing Association today but it bounced back,” Pradhan said. Standard Chartered Bank and Kumari Bank freezed the NOC accounts following a letter from District Administration Office, Kathmandu.

The NOC was severely criticised for drawing out about $80,000 recently. Still unwilling to disclose the exact amount they had drawn from the bank, Pradhan said they drew the money to make sure Nepal’s participation in the Olympics. “I was anticipating the move, so we took the precaution,” he added. The NOC had already face the similar situation in the past.

The NOC crisis started following the Nepal Government decision on June 24 to reinstate the Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) led by Rukma Shumsher Rana. The minister-level meeting had decided to recognise the committee registered under the National Directive Act 1961, giving legitimacy to committee led for former NOC president Rana. Pradhan-led NOC, however, was elected on March 13 last year and is recognised by International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

Pradhan said their committee was the only authority who can make sure Nepal’s participation in the Olympics. “I will quit my office if the Home Ministry or the government makes sure the Olympic participation,” Pradhan challenged. “Government decisions will make no difference to the IOC network.” Clarifying NOC’s stance over the existence of two football associations, Pradhan said they only recognise All Nepal Football Association. Nepal Football Association, the so-called parallel association, was recently registered in the National Sports Council. The registration is against the by-laws of sports governing body on Nepal.

Pradhan also challenged Rana to seek IOC and OCA affiliation. “I will hand over my office to him (Rana) if he gets international backing,” Pradhan said, adding that Rana’s activities are against the spirits of Olympics. The NSC member secretary and general secretary of the NOC Jeevan Ram Shrestha said the decision of the Home Ministry has created uncertainty among the Nepali sports arena. Shrestha also added that they are not compelled to follow the directives.