PAC should approach FIFA for assistance in investigating ANFA

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In his press meet yesterday, Ganesh Thapa responded to the recent events like a well-versed politician. He claimed that he was innocent, he was sad that "his name was linked with this issue" and that he was cooperating with all agencies. It is funny that he says that he is saddened that his name is linked with the issue because the only constant in Nepali Football and All Nepal Football Association for the past 19+ years is Ganesh Thapa. During that period, players have come and gone, coaches have come and gone, committee members have come and gone. But Ganesh Thapa has been at the helm for the entire duration. So if an investigation is carried out against ANFA, Ganesh Thapa is bound to be linked to it.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is a constitutional body that is responsible for ensuring financial discipline at every level of government and the public sector. They have recommended three different agencies (Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Department of Money Laundering Investigation to carry out separate investigations into ANFA's governance and financial activities. This is a clear indication that all is not well at ANFA.

Ganesh Thapa has stated that he is fearful that FIFA will suspend ANFA because it does not allow third party interference into affairs of its member organizations. He says that he is worried about the players and about Nepali football. How can this be true? If this was true, why is the League in the state that it is? Why hasn't ANFA paid the teams their prize money from last year's League? Why have Machhindra, Friends, Saraswati and Himalayan Sherpa announced that they will not participate in any tournament until ANFA provides them last season's preparation frees and prize money?

Ganesh Thapa is using scare tactics to try and scare the investigating agencies. In fact, FIFA should be concerned if there are investigations against ANFA and it is in their best interest to see these allegations quashed, if, as Ganesh Thapa says, he or ANFA have done nothing wrong.

As one of the readers of GoalNepal has kindly pointed out, the case of Zambia is a good example to prove this. Kalusha is a celebrated Zambian Soccer star who runs the football body of the country. He has been associated with disgraced Qatari Mohammed Bin Hamman and has admitted to receiving $50,000 saying that it was a debt. The Sunday times has published that he received $80,000 from Hammam.

The parallels between Kalusha and Thapa are so similar. 
  1. Ganesh Thapa is the President of ANFA.
  2. He has admitted to receiving money from Hammam ($100,000 into his son's account as a loan, and $115,000 into his account for his business related activities)
  3. He admitted to this only after the Sunday Times published his name in relation to investigations into Hammam's activities
  4. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is investigating ANFA and Ganesh Thapa for corruption and embezzlement of funds similar to the Zambian Anti Corruption Commission's investigation into the Zambian Football Association

If FIFA has given Zambia the green light to proceed with investigations, there is no reason why it will not give PAC the go ahead. I think that PAC should directly approach FIFA and request assistance in this investigation. 

One of the key points of contention raised by PAC is the financial irregularities into the funding that ANFA has received from FIFA through the GOAL Project and the FAP Project. Details can be obtained from the FIFA website at here and here.

FIFA has given ANFA $1.8 million dollars since 2010 for development activities through the Financial Assistance Programme. Similarly, FIFA has given ANFA $1.8 million dollars since 2001 through the Goal Project. It should be very concerned if ANFA has not used this money for development activities.

So PAC, CIAA, Ministry of Youth & Sports and the Department of Money Laundering Investigation should approach FIFA for assistance. After all, FIFA has independently audited the money that was paid to ANFA through their different projects.