Rival Football bodies unite

KATHMANDU, Dec 7 - Ending two long years of rivalry, All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) and Nepal Football Association (NFA) have reached agreement to unify.

ANFA and NFA officials signed a 7-point agreement on Sunday to this effect at a meeting in the presence of Minister for Youth and Sports Gopal Man Shakya and Member Secretary of Nepal Sports Council (NSC) Jeewan Ram.

NFA had halted the Martyrs' Memorial League alleging that ANFA had failed to grant better facilities to football clubs. NFA had also alleged that ANFA had no vision and was not transparent in financial matters.

A month ago, NFA had presented a unification proposal of the two football bodies to NSC. The said proposal had suggested equal authority for NFA officials in the new association and formation of a new election process.

During the meeting, officials from both bodies agreed to form a committee to formulate a draft statute. According to the agreement, an ANFA representative will be assistant coordinator of the committee. They also agreed to form a committee, headed by an ANFA representative to organize the national league and hold other footballing activities. "This is a historic moment in Nepali football as both the associations have united. They took the decision keeping in mind the future of Nepali football and players," said NSC Member Secretary Jeewan Ram Shrestha. He said the new association will have equal representation from both associations. Election of the new association is to be held in August next year. The meeting decided to resolve any dispute between the two associations under the supervision of NSC. It also decided to prepare a draft statute for the association within 45 days. ANFA President Ganesh Thapa assured that all problems pertaining to football would be sorted out once the two associations merged. The ongoing 'B' division league, conducted by NFA, will go on smoothly and four teams will be promoted to the 'A' division. The promotion of four teams to the new 'A' division league means the league will see 20 teams including sixteen from ANFA and four from NFA. Officials have now decided to run the 'A' division league with 20 teams and promote eight teams to premier division and relegate two teams to 'B' division, said NFA General Secretary Indra Man Tuladhar.

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