Skipper Thapa among five heldNepal police has arrested five Nepal football players, including national team skipper Sagar Thapa, for an alleged involvement in match fixing.
Nepal police has arrested five Nepal football players, including national team skipper Sagar Thapa, for an alleged involvement in match fixing.
National team defender Sandeep Rai, second-choice goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa and former national footballers Anjan KC and Bikash Singh Chhetri for fixing Nepal’s international matches on different occasions. Metropolitan Crime Division chief SSP Sarbendra Khanal said Thapa and KC were the “key players” involved in the organised match fixing.
“These boys go through their agents and throw away matches and manipulate results with certain goal margins as per their agreements with the bookies. Sagar and Anjan seem to be the major planner among the five,” said Khanal, adding that they had opened the investigation after finding suspicious transactions of money in their bank accounts and a dramatic change in their lifestyles.
“We have kept them under surveillance for the last one month after we found suspicious transactions in their bank accounts. Anjan seems to have investment of millions in several casinos in Sikkim. All of them might have injected money into several businesses, but to have an investment in casino is something out of ordinary for a normal Nepali,” said Khanal.
Thapa, who has been the skipper of the national team since 2009, might have been involved in match-fixing since then, according to Khanal. He is also the captain of first division side Three Star and Rai plays under him. KC and Chhetri had been together at Three Star but the former left his job as the coach. Thapa plies his trade with Nepal Police Club. Nepali footballers were suspected of match-fixing in 2011 when they lost 9-0 away to Jordan in the first leg of their 2014 World Cup qualifying match in Amman. Nepal settled for a 1-1 draw in the return leg held in Kathmandu.
According to Khanal, the footballers were involved in fixing matches against Philippines, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, while investigations have led them to discover transactions worth millions of rupees during the U-23 matches held in South Korea.
“The international agents have sent them money through international money transfers, Citizen Bank International, Cyber Money Transfer and Society Money Transfer. The money has been transferred from Singapore and Malaysia,” said Khanal. “This is an organised financial crime against the state. These are traitors who deserve severe punishment for defaming the country.”