FIFA’s reluctance on taking action on Nepal’s Ganesh Thapa will further taint their image

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Nepal football
Ganesh Thapa with Mohamed Bin Hammam

Not too long ago the suspension of President of All Nepal Football Association Ganesh Thapa from office caught everyone by surprise. The decision by the world football governing body to suspend the powerful All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) chief came totally out of the blue. Since then, he has kept a low profile, rarely speaking to the media. Mr. Thapa, however, is on the brink of completing his four- month suspension. What awaits him next? At this point nobody has any clue. All we can do is speculate.

Once Mr. Thapa completes his suspension, FIFA cannot remain silent and must reveal the findings of their re-investigation. Nonetheless, his fate hangs in the balance for now. The ball is in FIFA’s court. It is up to them to acquit Mr. Thapa of alleged corruption scandal surrounding him or suspend him for an indefinite period of time. What baffles me the most is why it is taking so long for FIFA to review the case and give their verdict? I can only think of one thing that would explain it. Taking into account the upcoming FIFA presidential elections, Mr. Thapa is very important to FIFA boss Mr. Blatter. It is obvious that he has a vested interest in keeping Mr. Thapa afloat.

On the other hand, Mr. Thapa’s last hope is Mr. Blatter. Prior to his suspension, he enjoyed the full support of his administration. Mr. Thapa was overly confident that FIFA would rally around him and support him regardless of his situation. Among all his wildest dreams he never saw this suspension coming. In my opinion, Mr. Thapa should have been booted out of office a long time back. Keep in mind FIFA wasted little time to remove President of Football Association of Mongolia who faced similar corruption charges.

It is hard to understand why FIFA is reluctant to remove Mr. Thapa even though all available evidence points to his involvement in large-scale corruption. Should Mr. Thapa receive a clean chit from FIFA, it would be very unfortunate and spell further disaster for Nepali football that has already gone from bad to worse under Mr. Thapa’s over two decades of leadership. Everyone knows FIFA’s credibility is in a free-fall. As a result, it is taking toll on their credibility. Their siding with Mr. Thapa only taints their image further.

Had it not been the coverage of the corruption scandal by the international news media, particularly, Reuters, international news agency, in all probability, FIFA would not have caved in and suspend their man. Very clearly, this was done under pressure. Let us not forget that this would not have been possible without the “Save Nepal Football” campaign launched by disenchanted present and past ANFA executives, coaches, players and football aficionados.

At this point I really don’t know what their next move is. It is very important to keep challenging Mr. Thapa and keep fighting the good fight to the end that would otherwise go to waste. There has been no follow-up news since then. The so-called mainstream media has been a huge let down for turning a blind eye. Perhaps, they do not care or they have been cowed into silence or they are too timid on Mr. Thapa ‘s misdeeds. Either way, it reflects badly on the media. It is astounding that the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) is still silent on Mr. Thapa’s corruption scandal, and it is disgraceful that nothing has been done until now.

As things stand now, I cannot imagine the government doing anything.
There is no point in arguing what they will do. They have reached new heights in their absurdity and irresponsibility. Eventually, it all depends on what FIFA decides to do with Mr. Thapa. Till then we can only wait, watch and cross our fingers.

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