(Reuters) - Repeated pleas to embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter and other senior officials asking for help to end “chaos and lawlessness” in Nepal’s soccer federation (ANFA) have gone unanswered, the Asian body’s vice-president told Reuters on Thursday.
Soccer in the South Asian republic has been in turmoil since soccer’s world governing body FIFA last year launched an investigation into financial irregularities during president Ganesh Thapa’s reign at ANFA.
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. FIFA has yet to report any findings.
Nepal’s parliament had also launched an investigation into the allegations. It said earlier this year it had put the probe on hold, reserving the right to resume it.
Thapa extended his self-imposed ban by another 90 days in March with that deadline ending on Friday. He refused to comment, or confirm when or if he would return, when contacted by Reuters.
Blatter, 79, is stepping down as FIFA president as a corruption probe roils soccer’s global governing body.
Acting ANFA president Lalit Krishna Shrestha, Thapa’s appointed senior vice president, died earlier this month after electrocuting himself while rewiring his house, leaving the Nepalese body rudderless.
“I understand FIFA certainly have some other priorities, such as World Cup, elections and changes in the ethics committee but this should not be an excuse for ignoring our association,” ANFA vice-president Karma Tsering Sherpa told Reuters on Thursday.
He said repeated letters addressed to Blatter and other senior FIFA officials including General Secretary Jerome Valcke, to help end the crisis in the country’s soccer association, including the latest on May 20, have gone unanswered.
FIFA said they could not give an immediate comment.
The Swiss-based body has said the ANFA had been the subject of an “unsatisfactory” external audit in 2012, when “unappropriated cash movements” were identified when Thapa was president.
With Thapa set to return, and no result from a FIFA investigation yet, Karma Tsering Sherpa said the uncertainty would only continue and any delay would be assumed as supporting Thapa.
“We have previously made FIFA aware of the state of lawlessness and chaos that has existed within ANFA,” two ANFA vice-presidents, including Sherpa, said in the May 20 letter to Blatter. “We respectfully request the immediate intervention of the FIFA emergency committee.”
Nepal sit 183rd in FIFA’s 209-nation rankings.
Additional reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Ossian Shine