The dispute at the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) has now reached its peak.
Due to an insufficient quorum at the special general convention, 49 members, led by former ANFA president Karma Tsering Sherpa, called for the removal of President Pankaj Bikram Nembang and General Secretary Kiran Rai. They insisted on holding another special general convention within a 30-day period.
After Nembang declined to accept the proposal, the team presented it to senior vice president Bir Bahadur Khadka. With the majority of members calling for a special general convention and the removal of Nembang and Rai, the leadership of ANFA is now in a state of crisis.
Those requesting a special general convention mentioned that according to the ANFA statute, specifically Article 41(1) and Article 27(7), the ANFA Congress holds the authority to make decisions regarding the removal of the president and general secretary.
“The current leadership is incompetent. They have not done anything they promised and are wasting everyone’s time. We want them gone,” said Indraman Tuladhar, president of Sankata Club.
Tuladhar said the two being at ANFA would pose more risks to the football industry which has already suffered a lot since they took oath of office in June 2022.
Key issues at ANFA
As per Article 36 of ANFA’s statute, there exists a provision for convening a special general convention. If 40 per cent of the members submit a written request for such a convention, the working committee is bound to organise it within a 30-day timeframe. In the event that the working committee fails to initiate the special general convention, the members themselves hold the authority to call for it by issuing a 30-day notice.
Out of the 86 voters in the recent ANFA elections, 49 have submitted signed applications requesting the association of a special general convention within a 30-day period.
During this special convention, the primary agenda will involve the potential removal of President Nembang and General Secretary Rai. According to ANFA regulations, a minimum of 58 votes is needed to oust them from their respective positions.
General Secretary Rai, said that even though the application has been submitted, it has yet to be officially registered.
“Their application will be registered only after verification,” says Rai. “Once the application is registered, the special general convention will be called within 30 days.”
Rai also emphasises the importance of examining the legal procedures pertaining to the applications. As the signatures on the proposal are from different people and different clubs, ANFA will check them to for authenticity and proceed ahead.
The individuals endorsing a special general convention have levelled allegations against the current ANFA leadership. These allegations include breaches of statutes, an inability to prevent players from moving abroad, a lack of progress in initiating grassroots programs and academies, a failure to ratify the budget during the annual general meeting, and a perceived lack of transparency in financial transactions.
“If the current leadership is at the helm, Nepali football will be finished,” reads the proposal.
The people calling for the removal of Nembang and Rai have said that even after more than a year in office, the two have consistently undertaken actions that have had a detrimental impact on the integrity of ANFA’s statutes.
Boycotting virtual meeting
What did not help was the leadership’s call to hold a virtual meeting instead of a physical one. ANFA dispatched a message to all its members, notifying them of the online annual general meeting (AGM) slated for September 10, specifically for the purpose of appointing auditors.
However, out of the 42 league clubs, 32 demanded the AGM be held physically, arguing conducting a virtual one contradicts ANFA’s statutes. The clubs cautioned they would boycott the AGM if their request was not accommodated. Nevertheless, the ANFA leadership did not heed this call. Consequently, the majority of members refrained from attending the AGM scheduled for September 10.
ANFA had no choice but to postpone the meeting to September 11. However, there was no chance the clubs would be present for an online meeting which meant the quorum was insufficient again.
Unsurprisingly there was a stalemate. Following that, ANFA spokesperson Suresh Shah released a statement, indicating that the meeting scheduled for Monday, September 11, has been postponed. Preceding this announcement, the opposition then submitted an application, urging the removal of Nembang and Rai from their respective positions.
What have you done?
ANFA members like the majority of the fans and football players are growing frustrated with Nembang. He barely held the Martyr’s Memorial ‘A’ Division League which was mired with issues. Unable to conduct the B Division and C Division has been another downside along with the inability to conduct the second round of the National Women’s League and the Lalit Memorial U19 competition.
The inaugural U16 Youth League also experienced its share of controversy.
The leadership have been put under added pressure as national players started to leave the country citing lack of opportunity and future in football. It has not found a way to deal with this issue nor have they acknowledged it.
They have also faced accusations of handling tasks typically reserved for the annual general meeting (AGM) through the working committee.
Nembang assumed office as the president of ANFA on June 20, 2022. However, the first meeting of the new leadership’s working committee on June 22 was marred by controversy. The meeting’s legitimacy came into question, as appointments for the positions of general secretary, treasurer, and head of the foreign affairs department were made without a predefined agenda.
In a meeting lacking a specified agenda, Kiran Rai was named general secretary, Rabindra Joshi was appointed treasurer, and Nabin Padey was assigned as head of the foreign affairs department. The appointment of Padey sparked a significant dispute, resulting in him ultimately being designated as an advisor to ANFA’s president. Subsequently, Pandey chose to resign from the position.
On March 1, ANFA convened a meeting in the absence of a majority of its members and passed 20 resolutions. The opposition has yet to endorse these decisions. Among the decisions made was the appointment of a head coach and coordinators for various committees.
Previously, there had been a request to dismiss the general secretary and treasurer. However, the president chose not to include this demand in the agenda.
This has led to many people who were with Nembang during the election calling for his removal. Out of the 42 clubs, 32 want him gone.
Anil Malla, Bhoj Raj Shahi, Rabin Chand, and Ramesh Byanjakar, who initially backed Nembang during the elections, have now aligned themselves with Karma Tsering Sherpa.