KATHMANDU, March 28: A case filed against the Bhaktapur District Football Association—which had affected the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) elections—was withdrawn on Tuesday.
Three Bhaktapur-based football clubs—Bhaktapur Football Club, Bhaktapur United Club and Sirutar Sports Center—withdrew the case against the Bhaktapur District Football Association stating that they wanted to aid ANFA conduct elections and avoid FIFA suspension.
“If Nepal’s central football governing body fails to survive, how will we exist? ANFA should not face ban due to us,” said Bhaktapur Football Club’s president Ram Prajapati, organizing a press meet in Bhaktapur on Tuesday. He added: “Our problem is with Bhaktapur chapter, not with the central football body.”
The three Bhaktapur-based clubs on January 17 had filed a case against the district football association at Bhaktapur District Court saying that the district chapter elections were held without including them. This halted Bhaktapur district elections, which were slated for January 19.
Owing to the controversy, ANFA had published the voter list for the March 28 central working committee elections excluding Bhaktapur chapter. Following that, Bhaktapur chapter’s president Gautam Sukhaju had registered a writ petition against ANFA at the High Court Patan.
The court, upon hearing the petitions filed by Bhaktapur’s Sukhaju and Makwanpur District Football Association’s vice-president Manish Shrestha, had issued an interim order last week to stay the ANFA elections. The duo had filed the petition against ANFA stating that the football body could not exclude representatives from Bhaktapur and Makwanpur chapters for central elections.
ANFA, on Sunday, decided to suspend March 28 elections, saying that it could not go against the court’s verdict although there were clear directions from world football governing body, FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to hold election in time.
The three clubs maintained that they withdrew the case since failure to hold central elections has imposed threat of FIFA ban on ANFA.
Meanwhile, AFC representative Ravi Kumar, who arrived in Kathmandu on Monday to take stock of the situation that led to deferral of the election, has held discussions with ANFA President Narendra Shrestha, ANFA presidential candidates Mani Kunwar and Karma Chirring Sherpa, vice-presidential candidates Bir Bahadur Khadka and Pankaj Bikram Nembang, and the members of election committee.
However, Kumar, during the meeting with the ANFA officials, did not hint at possible action by AFC against ANFA. Instead, he has suggested the officials to resolve the election controversy in consensus.
“I have come to take stock of the situation going on here. I will first examine the situation, then I will tell about the next actions,” Kumar told the officials.
President Shrestha said that the ANFA officials briefed Kumar about the court’s interim stay order and the reason behind the suspension of the general assembly. He added: “We have assured him that we will conduct elections as soon as the court case is resolved.”
Shrepa said that his panel, during the meeting with Kumar, had proposed to begin the general assembly on the stipulated date. “We proposed to Kumar that we will begin the general assembly tomorrow (Wednesday).
Most of the representatives of the assembly are present in Kathmandu. We advised to start the closed session from tomorrow while halting the elections process,” he said.
Former ANFA Chief Executive Officer Indra Man Tuladhar, who joined Sherpa panel recently, said: “We suggested that the general assembly should suspend the current election process and fix a new date for elections.”
“Kumar has sought consensus between ANFA and us in this regard,” he added.