Monday, January 17

Row over fitness test of referees resolved for the time being

By a Staff Reporter

Kathmandu – The row over fitness test of FIFA referee has been resolved for the time being following a discussion between the agitating referees and All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) President Karma Chiring Sherpa on Thursday evening.

Earlier, nine out of 10 FIFA referees of Nepal had tendered their resignation on Thursday afternoon due to the pressure from ANFA to undergo fitness test while the league was underway. The agitating referees said that they decided to sit for talks with ANFA president after the latter agreed to conduct the league as per the schedule fixed earlier. Out of the nine referees, FIFA assistant referee Madhav Karki and Bikram Chaudhary had withdrawn their resignation.

“The ANFA president admitted some flaws on their part and urged us not to stop the league. We decided to continue our support to the league after the president agreed to discuss all contentious issues again on Sunday and Monday,” said one of the referees requesting not to be named.

“We are not against the fitness test but we need some time for preparation which is not possible during the league. That was the bone of contention between ANFA and us,” he added.

 The referees who had taken fitness test on September 23 were instructed by ANFA to undergo another fitness test on December 23.

The referees had stated that they would not be able to undergo the test while the league was underway. They had urged ANFA to stop the league if the fitness test had to be taken at any cost. The referees said that they opted to resign after ANFA did not respond positively to their demands.

In the previous years, the referees used to undergo fitness test once a year. However, they were under pressure to undergo test within three months after ANFA appointed India’s Gautam Kaur as the referee director.

“ANFA president accused us of groupism and being involved in politics without going through our written letter,” said one of the referees, adding, “We decided to step down due to the insult we had to face.”

Kaur was appointed the referee director by ANFA about three and a half months ago. However, his appointment couldn’t be free from controversy. While seeking application for the referee director, ANFA had put forth a criteria that demanded the position holder to be a match commissioner as well. This effectively closed the doors for other international-level applicants who were aspiring for the job. Kaur had been allegedly giving undue pressure outside his jurisdiction ever since he was appointed to the post.

“Earlier, ANFA was not ready to listen to us. Now, we feel that they are contemplating on the issue. We do not intend to cause trouble to ANFA. We were forced to submit our resignation because ANFA did not try to understand our problems,” said the referee.

ANFA General Secretary Indra Man Tuladhar confirmed that the league will resume as per the schedule after the agitating referees sorted out the issue with ANFA president.

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