BERNE (Reuters) – Nepal football association (ANFA) president Ganesh Thapa has temporarily stepped aside while FIFA’s ethics committee investigates allegations of financial irregularities made by two of his own vice-presidents, FIFA said on Tuesday.
“Ganesh Thapa… has agreed not to participate in any football-related activity at national and international level for a period of 120 days while the FIFA ethics committee completes its review of claims involving alleged misconduct by ANFA officials,” FIFA said in a statement.
ANFA vice-presidents Karma Tsering Sherpa and Bijay Narayan Manandhar told Reuters last month that they had asked FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia to look into Thapa and how funds to Nepal from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) were used.
The request, via an emailed letter seen by Reuters, came after the country’s public accounts committee had ordered an investigation of Thapa, an AFC vice president, over what it said was alleged embezzlement of funds.
Thapa has repeatedly denied all the allegations, saying he has done nothing wrong.
“With the ANFA mired in unresolved allegations of impropriety and scandal, we respectfully request that an investigation be immediately launched by the FIFA ethics committee investigatory chamber to resolve these many concerns and questions,” said the letter.
“We have witnessed conduct that causes us concern, and based on our observations, and allegations of impropriety that have appeared in the media, we have reason to believe that Mr Thapa and (Vice President Lalit Krishna) Shreshtha may have violated the FIFA Code of Ethics and the ANFA Statutes.”