Police to book tainted footballers for treason
Kathmandu, October 15
Police could not complete the process of arraignment, as courts are closed due to Dashain holidays, but they produced the five match-fixing accused footballers before the media and are considering to book them for treason against the state.
Police on Wednesday arrested national team skipper Sagar Thapa, his deputy Sandip Rai, goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa and former players Anjan KC and Bikash Singh Chhetri on charges of match-fixing in international matches from 2008 to 2014. As per the law, police cannot keep the arrested footballers in remand for more than 24 hours but as the courts are closed, they are expected to produce the footballers in court after Dashain.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan Crime Division, however, made public the accused footballers before the media and handed over the case to Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range for further investigation. “The footballers were found to have involved in match-fixing in Merdeka Cup in Malaysia (2008), SAFF Championship in Bangladesh (2009), friendly match against the Philippines in Malaysia (2011), friendly match in the Philippines (2011), Nehru Cup in India (2012) and Asian Games in South Korea (2014),” stated KMCD in a release.
“The players have sullied the nation’s image and hurt the sentiments of people by their action. They were found to have connections with international agents and lost matches deliberately despite playing under the national flag,” the release added. “So we have forwarded the case to Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range for further investigation under crime against the state.”
Meanwhile, the All Nepal Football Association decided to suspend all the five footballers from all football-related activities until the final verdict of the case. “We are in a state of shock and saddened by the news of the five footballers’ involvement in match-fixing,” stated ANFA in a release. “As the players are said to be involved in match-fixing, which is a serious charge in football, we have decided to keep all the five players away from football-related activities until the final verdict,” the release added. “We have also decided to fully cooperate in the investigation.”
- The players have admitted to taking money for losing matches while representing Nepal on international tours
- Goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa and former defender Anjan KC found to have received money from Western Union Money Transfer and Cyber Money Transfer from several countries
- All five received $5,000 each for a 2-2 draw against Afghanistan in Merdeka Cup in 2008
- All five received $3,061 each during SAFF Championship in 2009
- All five received $5,000 each for a 2-0 loss against the Philippines in a friendly match in 2011
- All five received $5,000 each for a 4-0 loss against the Philippines in a friendly match in 2011
- Fixed a 4-0 loss against Cameroon in Nehru Cup in 2012 for $5,000 each but the players were not paid after the team conceded five unanswered goals after goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa was substituted in the latter part of the game
- Sagar, Sandeep and Ritesh (who was goalkeeping coach) received $5,000 each for losing a match during Asian Games in 2014
- All five received money from Singapore’s Willson Raj, Titani Periasamy and Kesavan Pattan from different countries
- Skipper Sagar Thapa’s met Willson Raj in a restaurant at Durbar Marg
- Anjan KC influenced players on several tours, including the Philippines and India despite being a former player