British Gorkha Cup: Army pull out of game after PLA participation


KATHMANDU, Dec 14: Nepal Army Club (NAC) have pulled out of the British Gorkha Cup football tournament after the organizers confirmed participation of Maoists´ Peoples´ Liberation Army (PLA) in the tournament to be held at the Dasharath Stadium from Saturday.

The army team pulled out of the event immediately after the PLA´s participation was confirmed. However, the Nepal Army said NAC´s withdrawal was due to some ´internal reasons´.

The Gorkha Cup is a knockout football tournament with the highest cash prize in Nepal. The winners bag a purse of Rs 2 million.

The army has already told the organizers -- All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) -- that they would not be participating in the tournament. Sports Department Chief of the Nepal Army Colonel Min Dhoj Khadka said the army team pulled out due to internal reasons. "We have written to ANFA that we will be unable to participate in the tournament due to our busy schedule," Khadka said.

PLA´s Sports Club Chief Prashant said the PLA team has confirmed its participation in the tournament. "The club has already been registered for the tournament," he said.

The Maoist team is undergoing training at PLA´s Third Division in Shaktikhor, Chitwan, according to Prashant. Ashok KC and Meghraj KC are training the team. "The team will arrive in the capital soon," he added.

“We will call all best teams for participation as it is an invitational tournament. But, we can´t force any team to participate,” said ANFA spokesperson Lalit Krishna Shrestha.

Earlier, in the Fifth National Games, too, Nepal Army had pulled out of the games held from April 7-13 in the capital following PLA´s participation. The army team had also withdrawn from the national volleyball tournament for similar reason.

National League

Meanwhile, the Maoists have called off their exercise to ensure PLA Club´s participation in the Martyrs Memorial A Division League Football. Jayandra Bahadur Chand, the president of Republic Sports Federation, a sports wing of the Maoists, said they called off the efforts after ANFA decided to include only 12 out of 20 clubs in the tournament.

The A division league has not been held for the last three years. The league is slated to begin on February 11. "This time eight clubs won´t be participating. So, the participation of PLA club may create controversy," Chand said, adding, "We also wish for smooth running of the league. We won´t do anything that could disrupt the league."

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