Nepal officials urge FIFA for full probe of own chief

All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) vice presidents are calling for world football's governing body to launch a fully-fledged probe into their own president Ganesh Thapa before his self-imposed four-month suspension runs out next week.

FIFA said on Nov. 4 that Thapa had willingly stepped down from all his positions for 120 days after the sport's ruling body said it would look into allegations of misconduct.

FIFA has not released any findings ahead of the 120-day period which ends next week.

In a letter to FIFA seen by Reuters, ANFA vice presidents said the ruling body now needed to launch a full investigation and not a mere review of claims, listing a number of issues that require closer scrutiny.

"We would kindly request a full investigation of Mr Thapa and his leadership of the ANFA by the FIFA Ethics Committee Investigatory Chamber ahead of his return in the upcoming weeks," ANFA Vice Presidents Karma Tsering Sherpa and Bijay Narayan Manandhar wrote in a letter dated Feb. 20.

"The chaos in the administration of ANFA that has persisted for years under the leadership of Mr Thapa must be brought to an end. We urgently request your kind assistance," they added.

The letter was addressed to Robert Torres, a member of the FIFA Ethics Committee's investigatory chamber, who was in charge of looking into the claims back in November.

The letter was also sent to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke and the Asian Football Confederation, at which Thapa was a Vice President until November.

Nepal's parliamentary public account committee (PAC) had also ordered an investigation of Thapa last year over what it said was alleged embezzlement of funds. It said this month it was waiting for the report.

FIFA had said in October the Nepalese FA had been the subject of an "unsatisfactory" external audit in 2012, when "unappropriated cash movements" were identified.

Thapa, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, did not want to comment when contacted by Reuters on Friday.

"Right now I don't want to talk about the issue," Thapa said before refusing to say whether he would return to ANFA.

FIFA, when contacted by Reuters, refused to comment on the letter, the state of its claims review or even if the review led by Torres was completed, instead referring to their four-month old press release.

"More information will follow in due course," a FIFA official told Reuters. The official also refused to say whether Thapa was eligible to return to office or not.

It was not immediately clear if Thapa would also resume his AFC role or would attempt to get re-elected during AFC elections later this year.

This episode marks the second incident involving an Asian FA in recent months, after Mongolian football chief Ganbold Buyannemekh was banned by FIFA in October for "soliciting and accepting" bribes from ex-FIFA executive Mohamed Bin Hammam.