ICC: Nepal can be re-admitted as early as June 2017

Kathmandu, February 20

The International Cricket Council (ICC) says Nepal’s board could be re-admitted to the world governing body as early as June, over a year after it suspended CAN citing political interference in the administration of the sport.

The ICC, in its statement on Monday, also said its delegation visited Nepal this week to consult with the cricket community. “A series of positive meetings of the Nepal Advisory Group concluded this weekend in Kathmandu as part of the process to re-admit the Cricket Association of Nepal as a member of the International Cricket Council,” it said in a statement.

The statement is a reiteration of ICC CEO David Richardson’s comments when he visited Nepal in last year. He had also said that he would like to see Nepal re-admitted to the world body by June 2017.

The global body also says a delegation will return to Kathmandu around the time the World Cricket League Championship matches against Kenya (March 11-13).  The ICC will then decide on a timetable for the adoption of the revised Constitution and subsequent elections. Following this, Nepal’s membership of the ICC will be tabled for consideration at the ICC Annual General Meeting in June.

“Following this, Nepal’s membership of the ICC will be tabled for consideration at the ICC Annual General Meeting in June,” says the statement.

Meanwhile, the ICC has also agreed to induct Chatur Bahadur Chand and Ashoknath Pyakurel, members of the ‘elected’ CAN into the advisory group, which will now have eight members. However, the ICC has stayed mum on this.

CAN, Nepal’s main cricket body, was being run by ad-hoc committees for a long time before it got its elected leadership for the first time in its history in December 2011.

Tanka Anbuhang, who has no qualms about being a Maoist leader, was elected unopposed as president of the board, and Ashok Nath Pyakurel the general secretary. In June 2014, the country’s anti-corruption body CIAA filed corruption charges against 10 board members, including the president and general secretary saying that they had embezzled the association’s funds.

With top officials under investigation, the association was being run by acting presidents, who could not perform their duties for lack of a mandate. During the last few weeks (November 5, 2015) of their tenure in office, the 10 officials were acquitted by the Special Court. Following the development, the UML, the ruling party, found an opportune moment to gain foot hold in CAN, which was earlier under the ‘sphere of influence’ of the Maoists and the Nepali Congress.

The Maoists, including Anbuhang, also backed the UML, at the cost of Congress sympathisers, including general secretary Pyakurel. The communist parties chose the National Sports Council as the agency to execute their design to ‘kick’ Congress out of CAN.

But the then main opposition Nepali Congress was in no mood to allow the ruling parties to take over the responsibility for one of the most popular sports in the country. Congress supporters within the association organised a general assembly, and elected Congress leader Chatur Bahadur Chand as president.

The National Sports Council, which is a government body, did not recognise Chand’s election. Instead of taking the initiative to settle the differences between the Anbuhang and Chand groups, the NSC formed its own ad-hoc committee, with UML sympathiser Ramesh Siwlal as the board president. NSC Member Secretary Keshav Bista says the move was taken with the consent of the ICC.

The tussle between the ad-hoc committee led by the Ramesh Silwal and the the ‘elected committee’ led by Chand also reached the court. That was when the ICC said its patience was wearing thin, and in a matter of few days, CAN was suspended.

The advisory group

The International Cricket Council has already named businessman Basant Chaudhary and former cricket administrator Binay Raj Pandey as coordinators of its advisory committee for Nepal. The names of Chaudhary and Pandey were finalised after a two-member delegation of the ICC comprising Chairman of Associates Imran Khwaja and ICC finance officer Ammar Sheikh held talks with stakeholders of the game in Nepal in November 2016.

The advisory committee has been given a July 2017 deadline to review the statute of Cricket Association of Nepal, and to suggest amendments to it to pave the way for elections. According to sources, an informal understanding has been reached to allow Chaudhary to coordinate the committee’s activities with the government and Pandey to look into the statute and the structure of CAN. Committee general secretary Pawan Agrawal has been given the authority to convene the committee.

The ICC has already declined a request by the committee members to allow the panel to function as Nepal’s cricketing body until elections are held. Committee member Deepak Koirala says the panel has been given a deadline of June 27 to finish its work.

Published on February 20th, Monday, 2017 2:50 PM

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