KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Senior officials at Nepal’s football association (ANFA) have asked FIFA’s ethics chief Michael Garcia to launch an investigation into their own president Ganesh Thapa.
The request, via an emailed letter seen by Reuters, comes after the country’s public accounts committee ordered an investigation of Thapa, an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) vice president, over what it said was alleged embezzlement of funds.
Thapa has repeatedly denied all allegations, saying he has done nothing wrong.
This episode marks the second incident involving an Asian FA this week, after Mongolian football chief Ganbold Buyannemekh was banned by FIFA for “soliciting and accepting” bribes from ex-FIFA executive Mohamed bin Hammam.
In the e-mailed letter dated Oct 15, addressed to Garcia and also sent to FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke and the AFC, two ANFA vice presidents ask the investigator to look into Thapa and how funds to Nepal from FIFA and the AFC were used.
“We write to you to request that you open an immediate investigation into potential breaches of the FIFA Code of Ethics and All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) Statutes by ANFA President Ganesh Thapa and Vice President Lalit Krishna Shreshtha,” it said.
“With the ANFA mired in unresolved allegations of impro-priety 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.
“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 Shreshtha may have violated the FIFA Code of Ethics and the ANFA Statutes.”
The e-mail is signed by ANFA vice presidents Karma Tsering Sherpa and Bijay Narayan Manandhar.
“What we want is for Garcia to investigate. We have been asking FIFA but they have been too slow,” Karma Tsering Sherpa told Reuters in a telephone interview on Friday.
“We want him to look into how the funds that came through various FIFA and AFC projects were used and if they are even in the audit books.”
Thapa said he would cooperate with any investigation, but insisted there had been no wrongdoing and he was continuing as head of ANFA.
“There is a government agency which wants an investigation and there’s no problem, we will support them,” Thapa told Reuters by telephone on Saturday.