– Nepal’s football governing body has expressed shock at the arrest of five men, including the national team captain, on match fixing charges, the All Nepal Football Association said (ANFA) on Thursday.
“We are shocked and are still trying to understand what happened,” ANFA spokesman Indraman Tuladhar told dpa. “It’s the first time we have had an incident like this.
“We will comply with the police investigation and if the charges are proved, we will also take action against the players.”
Late Wednesday, police arrested five men on charges of match fixing: Nepal captain Sagar Thapa, three other players and a coach.
Police said that the arrest came about after a month’s surveillance. Police said the bank accounts of the players showed transaction of huge sums of money, and a sudden change in their lifestyles.
Police has alleged the players of match fixing around national team games against the Philippines, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and Afghanisthan since 2009.
“This is an organized financial crime against the state. These are traitors who deserve severe punishment for defaming the country,” the Kathmandu Post daily quoted Sarbendra Khanal, the chief of the Metropolitan Crime Division in Kathmandu.
The Nagarik daily online quoted one of the detained players on anonymity, as saying they were compelled to match fix because of their poor financial situations as ANFA wasn’t doing enough for their well-being.
“We only accepted money for matches we were bound to lose, we won matches we could have won.”
On FIFA rankings, Nepal is on 183rd place currently, a place that has been fast slipping from its former standings.