KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepali police arrested five former and current national team players, including the captain, on Wednesday on charges of match fixing, in another blow to the country’s embattled soccer association.
Captain Sagar Thapa, Sandip Rai, Ritesh Thapa, Bikash Singh Chhetri and Anjan KC were arrested on charges of alleged match-fixing from 2008, SSP Sarbendra Khanal of the Metropolitan Police Crime Division told Reuters.
“From preliminary examinations of the players’ accounts, we found connections to known match-fixers in Malaysia and Singapore,” said Khanal.
“It seems that these players were involved in a deep network of brokers and fixers in other countries.”
Khanal said investigations were still at a preliminary stage and added he was not in a position to disclose whether officials from the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), the country’s governing body would also be implicated.
ANFA officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
The match-fixing charges emerge with soccer in the country in turmoil since world governing body FIFA last year launched an investigation into financial irregularities during president Ganesh Thapa’s reign at ANFA.
Long serving president and former national captain Thapa is fighting a court battle against four vice presidents he fired from the organisation earlier this year.
Last year, officials from ANFA asked FIFA to investigate the Nepali governing body.
Thapa, a former Asian Football Confederation vice president, voluntarily stepped down and refrained from all soccer activities for 120 days late last year while FIFA probed accusations of misconduct from his colleagues at ANFA.
The FIFA Ethics Committee is yet to make a judgment on the case.
Reporting by Ross Adkin; editing by Sudipto Ganguly